Breaking down the five biggest subplots involved in the Miami Dolphins matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday:
The Dolphins will go into the game against Tampa Bay as the biggest underdogs of Week 5 along with the Detroit Lions, according to the SI Sportsbook (sisportsbook.com). The Dolphins are 10-point underdogs against the defending Super Bowl champions, a much smaller line than when the Dolphins last faced Tom Brady in the 2019 season finale. The Dolphins were 17.5-point underdogs that day but still Gillette Stadium with a 27-24 victory.
The Dolphins are heavy underdogs for various reasons, but probably none bigger than the presence of Brady at quarterback for the Bucs. This will be the 36th time the Dolphins have faced Brady, and that's obviously never an easy task, though Miami has had more success against the legendary quarterback than most teams.
3. Receiver Riddle
The Dolphins offense needs some big plays in the passing game, but it's fair to wonder where they'll come from after a week when Jakeem Grant was traded, Will Fuller V was placed on injured reserve and DeVante Parker came up hobbling with a hamstring late in the week. This is a game when Preston Williams finally should get a chance to make an impact, and maybe rookie first-round pick Jaylen Waddle can have a breakout game to help out the offense.
4. Can the Corners Come Up Big?
The Dolphins got quite the scare late in the week when both Byron Jones and Xavien Howard were limited in practice with various injuries, but by the time the practices were done for the week they both appeared on track to play. The next step will be trying to slow down the potent Bucs passing game, and there's no question that Jones and Howard will have to be in top form to deal with the likes of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown.
5. Offensive Line Under Observation
The first question when it comes to the offensive line is whether the Dolphins will have a fifth consecutive different starting lineup, which would be a first since 2010. The bigger question is whether the line, whoever starts, can raise its level of play to make things easier for quarterback Jacoby Brissett and the rest of the offense — which will be no easy task against a very good Tampa Bay front seven.