Previewing the 2021 Las Vegas Raiders opponents, we look today at the Miami Dolphins
Sports Illustrated’s Raider Maven continues to go behind enemy lines and get the latest information on the Raiders’ upcoming opponents for the 2021 NFL season straight from the source covering them.
Last year’s matchup in week 16 against the Miami Dolphins is one Raider Nation does not want to remember.
But they will have another opportunity against the Fins in week three, as they host the Dolphins in Las Vegas for the second straight year.
“They will be problematic for opponents’ offenses because of all of the different looks that they will give them,” said Alain Poupart.
Poupart is a publisher and writer for Sports Illustrated All Dolphins who recently joined Raider Maven’s Editor and Publisher Hondo Carpenter on the radio. Carpenter was co-hosting with Clay Baker on the “Pritch & Clay” morning show on Raider Nation Radio (LINK TO LISTEN LIVE).
“If you saw the comments last year from the Chargers and the Rams. Incredibly eye opening. I had never seen players admit to being confused as to what the defense was doing after a game as surely as guys like Keenan Allen was after the Dolphins beat the Chargers at Hard Rock Stadium last year,” added Poupart.
Poupart feels very confident they’re going to make full use of Jaylen Waddle, who they picked sixth overall in the 2021 NFL draft to help take pressure off the quarterback.
The Dolphins return one of the best special teams units in the NFL.
“They were absolutely dynamite last year in that area and was one of the big reasons they were able to go 10 and six. With an offense that by all measures was okay. Nothing special,” said Poupart.
There are concerns in Miami; with the departure of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tua Tagovailoa takes over as the starter. Tagovailoa wasn’t as sharp as everyone expected. So the question is what kind of QB he’s going to be next season.
The Dolphins defense needs to create turnovers. Turnovers are where the offense would love the defense to improve, especially if they need them to bail them out of challenging situations.
Personnel issues can create headaches, and there’s already one building up with Xavien Howard, who is looking to get a new deal shortly after signing a five-year extension.
The Raiders traded third-round pick Lynn Bowden Jr. to Miami right before the season started a year ago due to maturity issues.
After mild success with the Dolphins, Bowden says he has moved on from the trade but will continue to have revenge on the Raiders for not believing in him.
According to Poupart, the biggest question for the Fins to move forward is the quarterback position.
If Tua does not take a step forward, the Dolphins will finish with eight wins, but the ceiling is high at 12 wins if he does.
If the Raiders’ defense gets to Tua early, the Raiders should win in week three.
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