Though the process was delayed a bit compared to a normal year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the NFL finally released official 2020 schedules earlier this month.
Set to travel more miles than any other team this season, the Seahawks will play out of conference games against the AFC East, non-divisional games against the NFC East, and six divisional games. In addition, they'll face two non-common opponents from the NFC North and NFC South.
Preparing for the new campaign, we will be dissecting each of Seattle's upcoming opponents over the next several weeks. Making the longest road trip in NFL with the exception of traveling to London, the Seahawks will fly to face the upstart Dolphins in Week 4.
2019 Record: 5-11, Fourth in AFC East
Last Meeting with Seahawks: 12-10 loss in 2016
In a low-scoring season opener at CenturyLink Field, Seattle built a 6-3 halftime lead on a pair of Stephen Hauschka field goals. Early in the fourth quarter, Ryan Tannehill scampered into the end zone from two yards out, giving Miami its first lead of the game with under five minutes left to play. Moments later, Russell Wilson came through in the clutch, driving the Seahawks 75 yards on 14 plays and capping off the drive with a game-winning touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin. Back-to-back sacks by Cassius Marsh and Cliff Avril sealed the deal at the end of regulation.
Season in Review: The Brian Flores era opened with an expected rocky start, as the rebuilding Dolphins started 0-7 before finally beating the Jets in Week 8. In the process, the team traded several disgruntled players, including safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers for a first-round pick. But something started to click at the midway point with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, as Miami rattled off five wins in its final nine games, including stunning New England on the road in the season finale to knock the division rival down to the No. 3 seed in the AFC.
Key Additions: CB Byron Jones, DE Shaq Lawson, LB Kyle Van Noy, G Ereck Flowers
Once viewed as a bust playing tackle for the Giants, Flowers found a home sliding inside to guard with the Redskins and brings size and toughness to the Dolphins interior offensive line. Flores wasted little time adding talent at all three levels of Miami's defense in free agency, handing Jones a five-year, $82 million deal to bolster the secondary, stealing the reliable Van Noy from the rival Patriots, and taking a shot on Lawson, a former first-round pick out of Clemson who posted a career-high 6.5 sacks in 2019.
Key Departures: CB Aqib Talib, S Reshad Jones
After trading away several players during the 2019 season, including Fitzpatrick and running back Kenyan Drake, the team didn't have any significant defections this offseason. A two-time Pro Bowler, Jones played in just four games last year and turned 32 in February, so the team jettisoned him to create cap space. As for the 34-year old Talib, he wasn't going to be brought back beyond 2019 after being a throw-in during a midseason trade with the Rams and ending last season on injured reserve. Both veterans remain unsigned.
Notable 2020 Draft Picks: QB Tua Tagovailoa, T Austin Jackson, CB Noah Igbinoghene
With three first-round picks in tow, the Dolphins hope to finally have found their franchise quarterback in Tagovailoa, who looks to be making great progress coming back from a devastating hip injury suffered during his junior season at Alabama. Depending on his health, he may have a chance to unseat Fitzpatrick early in his rookie campaign. The uber athletic, high upside Jackson should also have a chance to step in right away to protect Miami's new quarterback playing left tackle, while Igbinoghene will join Jones and Xavien Howard to form one of the most talented cornerback trios in the AFC.
Prognosis: Considering the impressive amount of turnover the Dolphins' roster undertook this offseason, the organization may be a year away from truly contending in the new-look AFC East. But with a rising young coach in Flores at the helm, the arrival of Tagovailoa energizing the fan base, and the addition of several talented veterans to the mix should make Miami a pesky, upstart squad nobody wants to play. Much like Arizona last year, if Tagovailoa can play right away as Kyler Murray did, this team has a chance to be exponentially better than 2019, even if it doesn't necessarily reflect in the win-loss column. Traveling cross country to play in humid Miami, this won't be a gimme for Seattle early in the season.