Miami Dolphins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Matchups, prediction as Brady goes for win No. 24 vs. Miami

Tom Brady is in search of win No. 24 against Miami. Here's a look at the matchups and a prediction for Dolphins vs. Buccaneers.

It may come as a surprise, but this Sunday will mark just the 12th Miami Dolphins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers game in NFL history. Routine preseason foes, Tampa Bay leads Miami in their all-time series just 6-5, having won their last two meetings, most recently in 2017.

Despite their infrequent battles, the Bucs and Dolphins have one large commonality: Tom Brady. During his two-decade-long stint with the New England Patriots, Brady played against the Dolphins as many times as any other team. Though team wins are by no way a quarterback stat, Brady still holds a dominant record over Miami in his starts. He goes for Win No. 24 over Miami.

Miami Dolphins offense vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense

In a game largely dominated by talk of the quarterbacks, the Bucs defense should actually get more notoriety. Tampa is fresh off holding the Patriots to a new franchise-low -1 rushing yards on Sunday Night Football last week.

Jacoby Brissett vs. Bucs defense

Jacoby Brissett should be in for a long afternoon against the Bucs defense. Tampa gave up easy shots to Mac Jones and New England a week ago, allowing 31 completions. They did, however, limit any big gains, giving up an average of just 6.8 yards per attempt. Brissett averages only 4.9 yards a pass this year himself, setting up Miami’s receivers to have to do the majority of the work on their own.

The Bucs defense has All-Pro caliber players at every level, most notably at linebacker, where the duo of Devin White and Lavonte David is arguably the best in football. The two patrol the middle of the field with ease and limit production in their zones. Brissett will have to find other areas to exploit, and even then, that’s a tough ask against Tampa.

Advantage: Buccaneers

Dolphins weapons vs. Bucs secondary

The Miami receiving corps could be formidable — if they could ever stay healthy. Everyone knows Jaylen Waddle is a dangerous man with the ball in his hands, but he’ll largely have to rely on yards after the catch. The Bucs gave up just one pass longer than 21 yards to the Patriots on Sunday night, and that was against Richard Sherman, who was essentially signed off the street.

In fact, Sherman may be the one weak link on the Bucs defense. New England clearly picked on Sherman a week ago, and he found his way to the wrong side of our Week 4 Winners and Losers list. It should be noted that Sherman missed a practice and was signed the week leading up to the game. With a week of conditioning and experience under his belt in Tampa, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him return to form.

He may not be the caliber player he once was, but even a downgraded  Sherman can still lock down one side of the field.

Advantage: Buccaneers

Dolphins offensive line vs. Bucs offensive line

This is arguably the biggest mismatch on paper for the entire weekend, not just in this game. The Dolphins’ offensive line is an abhorrent group. From left to right, Austin Jackson, Jesse Davis, Greg Mancz, Robert Hunt, and Liam Eichenberg are not going to strike fear into any NFL defensive line.

Even if Brissett wanted to average longer than three seconds to throw, he couldn’t. That’s not because he can’t spot open receivers — though that’s an issue, too. It’s because he’s typically pressured out of the pocket or on his back by the time pass catchers come free.

The Bucs’ defensive line, on the other hand, is formidable. Shaq Barrett, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, and William Gholston (2 sacks each) are game-wreckers off the edge. Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh have combined for over a dozen pressures up the gut. And White has recorded a team-high 6 QB hits in blitz situations.

The Bucs rush from all different angles and cause havoc in a number of ways. Simply put — Miami doesn’t have the chops to stand up to this unit in either pass or run game.

Advantage: Buccaneers

Miami Dolphins defense vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense

Everyone knows Dolphins CB Xavien Howard is an All-World type player. Byron Jones, Jason McCourty, and Eric Rowe round out a veteran secondary that anchors the Dolphins’ plans defensively. However, opposite that secondary are front-seven players who have struggled tremendously in 2021.

Tom Brady vs. Dolphins defense

Brady has started 35 career games against Miami. He currently sits at 23-12 against the Dolphins, though he didn’t quite finish that 2005 game against them. He’s split his last six meetings with Miami, having lost his last three against them by a combined 11 points. This will be his first game against Miami as a member of the Bucs.

Brady is currently third in the NFL with 1,356 passing yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s limited his interceptions to just 2. There isn’t much he hasn’t done well this season, however. Brady is still testing deep shots accurately while taking his time and capitalizing on what is given to him underneath. At the age of 44, Brady continually plays like a younger man.

The Bucs exploit mismatches in coverage on a game-by-game basis with ease. Brady spreads the ball around evenly to the talented trio of Mike Evans (37 targets), Chris Godwin (30), and Antonio Brown (21). As good as the Dolphins are in the secondary, Tampa finds ways to get the balls to their receivers in creative fashion across the middle and with pre-snap motion.

Bruce Arians certainly knows a thing or two about avoiding top-notch players, and he’ll do that yet again with Howard.

Advantage: Buccaneers

Bucs weapons vs. Dolphins defensive backs

This one is certainly the closest battle within the war. Evans, Godwin, and Brown have combined for 777 receiving yards. Howard and Jones, combined with Justin Coleman and Nik Needham, have allowed 625 yards and 3 touchdowns.

The real passing advantage for the Bucs will come when they stay away from the cornerbacks on the inside. Coleman and Needham, playing largely in the slot, haven’t given up a touchdown this season. Howard and Jones have been beatable, and they haven’t faced a trio like the Tampa Trifecta.

They haven’t faced a quarterback who can distribute the ball as Brady can, either.

Advantage: Buccaneers

Bucs offensive line vs. Dolphins defensive line

Tampa rode Brady to the Super Bowl a season ago, but they were certainly aided by a dominant performance from their offensive line. But this season, the Buccaneers’ OL has been merely good, not great. Still, Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, Ryan Jensen, Alex Cappa, and Tristan Wirfs are a complete group who has yet to miss a snap together this season. That level of cohesivity is almost unheard of.

The Dolphins have combined for 7 sacks this season, but only 4 of those have come from defensive linemen. Christian Wilkins has been good on the inside, leading the team with 2 sacks, but he’s relatively boom-or-bust with his pass rush. Emmanuel Ogbah leads the team with 7 QB hits, proving to be the only consistent pass rusher on the team.

With yet another healthy start ahead for one of the NFL’s best offensive lines, Tampa keeps racking up advantages over Miami.

Advantage: Buccaneers

Betting line and game prediction

There is a reason the Bucs were at one point favored by more than 10 points against the Dolphins. It was based in fact, as Tampa is easily the more complete team. They’re still a Super Bowl favorite and have the greatest quarterback of all time playing at a near-elite level.

Tampa wins this one with a dominant offensive output after their sluggish win in the rain in New England. Oh, and the defense stands up and limits a snail-like Miami offense with relative ease.

Prediction: Buccaneers 34, Dolphins 10

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

Related Articles