Florida: A Mid-Year Look At The Bucs, Dolphins, and Jags
Believe it or not, we are now nine weeks deep into the 2023 NFL season. Given the league is a 17-game schedule we are essentially at the halfway point already. So, let’s pause for a mid-year glance of how things are going so far for the Bucs, Dolphins, and Jags.
With the odd number of games and bye weeks factoring into an 18-week season, the Dolphins have played nine games, while the Buccaneers and Jaguars have played eight. The Dolphins, coming off their tough loss to the Chiefs in Germany yesterday, will head into their off week. As we know, the Bucs and Jaguars have already had theirs.
Here is where we stand with the Bucs, Dolphins, and Jags. Overall, it’s fair to say the season is going as expected. Both the Dolphins and Jaguars are in first place within their respective divisions. The Bucs after a hot start (winning 3 of their first 4), have dropped to third place in the division at 3-5. After a heartbreaking loss to the Texans yesterday, the Bucs have lost four in a row. Still, there is reason for optimism.
The Bucs’ Second Half
It would be premature to call Baker Mayfield an all-star, but he has exceeded expectations. Furthermore, Mayfield has truly embraced Tampa’s culture, displaying a formidable effort leading the team. He currently has 12 touchdowns, four interceptions, and 1,865 yards. The 12 touchdown passes in 8 games do not blow you away. However, with only four interceptions, Mayfield is taking care of the ball and giving the offense a chance. He has been the most productive quarterback in the NFC South by far.
The Bucs’ second half opponents include only two games vs. playoff-contending teams. That would be vs. the 49ers on November 19 and a Christmas Eve matchup welcoming fellow Floridians, the Jaguars, to Tampa. Sure, 3-5 is not an attractive record, but the Bucs still have a legit chance at winning their division. Mid-season grade = C+.
The Dolphins’ Second Half
Let’s start with the most important point: the Dolphins have one of the league’s most impressive coaches in Mike McDaniel. They are in their off week, having accomplished one of their mid-season goals, sitting in first place. Receiver Tyreek Hill is a MVP candidate, and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has improved significantly. He has thrown 19 touchdowns and has over 2,600 yards. The Jets and Bills will continue to knock on the door to challenge the Dolphins. In addition, Miami’s last three games of the year are the most brutal stretch of their schedule. They have the Cowboys, Ravens, and Bills to end the season. Mid-season grade = A-.
The Jaguars Second Half
The Jags have won five in a row. Though they’ve played eight games, only three of them have actually been in Jacksonville. The Jags had two weeks in a row in England. If it feels like the team has not been home in forever it’s because by Sunday’s game vs. the 49ers it will be a month since the last time the team played in Everbank Stadium.
The Jags have a strong hold on the AFC North. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence has some receivers coming back from injury. Furthermore, he is in lockstep with his Clemson teammate Travis Etienne. The Jags best remaining games include a primetime game vs. the Bengals in early December, a heavyweight battle vs. the Ravens, and a trip to Tampa to take on the Bucs. Mid-season grade = A.
In total, the Bucs, Dolphins, and Jags stand at the mid-way point with a Florida record of 15-10.