2018 Miami Dolphins game-by-game predictions

The Miami Dolphins' season changed last Aug. 3 when quarterback Ryan Tannehill tore an ACL in a training camp practice. Miami scrambled to find stability in pulling Jay Cutler out of retirement, but a five-game losing streak in the middle of the season wiped out a 4-2 start and eventually led to a 6-10 finish. With Tannehill back in 2018, how much better can the Dolphins be?

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 9, vs. Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m. ET

Unlike last season, one hopes weather will not force the Dolphins from playing their regular-season opener. Miami has won four of its past five games to begin the season, so history is on its side. Record: 1-0

Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 16, at New York Jets, 1 p.m. ET

The Dolphins traveled to MetLife Stadium in Week 2 last season and lost, and the Jets could be a better team this season. Record: 1-1

Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 23, vs. Oakland Raiders, 1 p.m. ET

The Raiders will be playing in the 1 p.m. Eastern Time slot dreaded by teams used to the Pacific time zone, although they will make a stop in Denver the week prior. Advantage: Dolphins. Record: 2-1

Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 30, at New England Patriots, 1 p.m. ET

Miami’s seesaw start will continue at Gillette Stadium, where they have not won since 2008. Even Danny Amendola can’t help reverse that history. Record: 2-2

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 7, at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m. ET

Call it the Bill Lazor Bowl. Although in the most recent meeting between these teams, in 2016, it was the Mike Nugent Bowl: He converted five field goals in a Bengals victory. Record: 2-3

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 14, vs. Chicago Bears, 1 p.m. ET

Adam Gase hosts his former team, whose offense he coordinated in 2015. This is a game Tannehill should win over Mitchell Trubisky. Record: 3-3

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 21, vs. Detroit Lions, 1 p.m. ET

Back-to-back games against the NFC North will bring Matt Patricia to town as Lions coach. Tannehill was 3-1 at home against Patricia’s Patriots defense with a 97.2 quarterback rating. Record: 4-3

Week 8: Thursday, Oct. 25, at Houston Texans, 8:20 p.m. ET

There is nothing worse than a Thursday night game on the road, and it prevents a three-game winning streak in this projection. Record: 4-4

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 4, vs. New York Jets, 1 p.m. ET

Starting to get dizzy? Time for the Dolphins to climb back above .500 and remain undefeated at home. Record: 5-4

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 11, at Green Bay Packers, 1 p.m. ET

An upset over Aaron Rodgers? It happened the last time the Dolphins visited Lambeau Field, in 2010. Cameron Wake had three sacks and six quarterback hits. He also happens to still play for the Dolphins. Record: 6-4

Week 11: Bye

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 25, at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. ET

In this battle of 2012 first-round quarterbacks, Tannehill could get a boost from his surrounding cast, including longtime Colts running back Frank Gore. Record: 7-4

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 2, vs. Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. ET

Gase said the Dolphins’ lackluster performance in last season’s finale against Buffalo prompted many of this offseason’s changes. But has Miami adequately replaced the players it jettisoned? Record: 7-5

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 9, vs. New England Patriots, 1 p.m. ET

The Patriots have lost four of their past five trips to South Florida, and Hard Rock Stadium is often a house of horrors for Tom Brady. Record: 8-5

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 16, at Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m. ET

Just as the Dolphins can taste the playoffs, the reality of their brutal December schedule sets in with a trip north. Record: 8-6

Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 23, vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m. ET

This seems like a winnable game for the Dolphins, even with the Jaguars’ success last season. But with some of the holes on Miami's roster, something feels destined to go wrong. Record: 8-7

Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 30, at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. ET

The Dolphins’ lone victory in Buffalo the past six seasons was aided by Rex Ryan’s defense boldly keeping only 10 players on the field for a 57-yard run by Jay Ajayi in overtime. Record: 8-8