Previewing the Buffalo Bills 2022 Opponents: AFC East

Bill Belichick (Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports)
Bill Belichick (Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Buffalo Bills
Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins (Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports) /

Miami Dolphins

2020 Finish: 9-8 (4-2 in AFC East)

2021 Games vs. Buffalo Bills:

Week 2: 35-0 Buffalo Bills

Week 8: 26-11 Buffalo Bills

Key Additions: (WR) Tyreek Hill, (LT) Terron Armstead, (RB) Chase Edmonds, (RB) Raheem Mostert, (G) Connor Williams

Key Losses: (WR) Will Fuller IV, (CB) Jason McCourty

The Miami Dolphins had one of the weirdest seasons in recent memory. The Dolphins started 1-7 and looked like they  were headed for a Top 5 pick, but then, they rattled off seven wins in a row to get to 8-7, before splitting their last two games to finish 9-8.

The good vibes of a strong finish did not last long for Miami however, as they fired head coach Brian Flores shortly after the season ended, and then were accused by Flores of racism during the hiring process.

Amid the controversy, the Dolphins hired Mike McDaniel as their next head coach. McDaniel is coming off five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers as their run game coordinator (2017-2020) and offensive coordinator (2021).

The hiring of McDaniel is a sign of Miami’s desire to improve their woeful offense. From 2015-2021, the Dolphins have finished in the top half of the NFL in scoring just once (2020).

Miami made a giant splash by trading for Kansas City’s star receiver Tyreek Hill, adding to what they believe to be a solid foundation with second-year wideout Jaylen Waddle and tight end Mike Gesicki.

They also improved the running back room, adding Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds, and bringing in former 49ers running back Raheem Mostert in to continue working with McDaniel.

Free agency and trading was really the only way the Dolphins improved, as they did not pick in the Draft until the third round (pick 102).

These additions are likely meant to supplement the productive 2021 seasons that Waddle (104 receptions, 1015 yards, six touchdowns) and Gesicki (73 receptions, 780 yards, two touchdowns) had.

Waddle’s 104 catches become less impressive when you realize that he averaged under ten yards per catch (9.8). The argument could be made that Tua Tagovailoa was a limiting factor for Waddle, and we may not know if that is the case for another year or two.

The Dolphins had one of the worst offensive lines in football last season, and made a major signing to improve the blind spot of Tagovailoa. That signing was Terron Armstead, a stalwart of the offensive line in New Orleans for the last nine seasons.

Speaking of Tagovailoa, this season is a make or break campaign for the third year southpaw quarterback. Many felt that last year was the make or break year for Tagovailoa, and given the recent reports of the Deshaun Watson trade that almost was, it may have been.

Tagovailoa was just a little bit better in 2021 than he was in 2020, seeing increases in passing yards (2,653), touchdowns (16), yards per attempt (6.8), and passer rating (90.1). Despite the improvements, Tagovailoa still looked less than impressive.

The defense, which was the strength of Miami’s teams for the last two seasons, did not change much, only losing cornerback Jason McCourty.

The Dolphins were essentially two different teams in 2021, but they will likely look like neither of those squads under their rookie head coach, given the drastic overhaul on offense. The Dolphins will likely be in the mix for second place in the AFC East, and will likely be able to compete with the Buffalo Bills on the field, despite going 1-9 against them while Sean McDermott has been their Head Coach.