There has been a lot of negativity surrounding the Miami Dolphins as of late, undoubtedly due to the frustration and lack of hope that accompanies a three game losing streak. While I for one was enjoying my ride aboard the negativity train, I’ve decided to get off of it at its next stop in New England. The good news is, Miami is still very much alive not only in the AFC playoff picture, but in the AFC East too. At 3-3 with five divisional games remaining, Miami is a winning streak away from making the playoffs. Here is my analysis of their remaining games this year.
Week 8 @ New England Patriots: I don’t see the Dolphins winning this game, but I consider this divisional contest to be the make or break point for the rest of the season. If Miami can come into Foxborough and compete and fight hard with the Pats, they will build confidence moving forward. However, I ultimately see the Patriots being too good at home.
Week 9 Vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Before the season started, I saw this game as a potential playoff-decider. Turns out that is exactly what it will be for Miami. Beating the current AFC North leading Bengals would not only give Miami a huge confidence boost, but it would also give them a crucial tiebreaker (if necessary) come late December. Miami has fared well against Cincy recently, and I’m picking the ‘Phins at home on TNF.
Week 10 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: One of the easier games on Miami’s remaining schedule. Miami will look to redeem their Monday Night Football letdown against the Saints. Mike Glennon is struggling as a rookie and that won’t bode well against a tenacious Miami pass rush. I see the Dolphins beating the Bucs on prime time and moving to 5-4 overall.
Week 11 Vs. San Diego Chargers: The ‘Fins are lucky to get the Chargers at home. However, Philip Rivers is playing some of his best football, and it will be important for the Dolphins to run the ball well to keep him off the field. Overall, I think the Chargers turn this one into a shootout, and win.
Week 12 Vs. Carolina Panthers: Carolina is underrated and Cam Newton is always dangerous. That being said, I think Miami will be too tough to handle over the course of a game and weather whatever storm Newton brings. Miami beats the Panthers at home.
Week 13 @ New York Jets: Weird to see Miami’s first game against the Jets coming this late. I think these two games against the Jets will be the most fun and competitive for the ‘Fins. Miami’s defense and special teams always shows up against the Gangreen, and I think Miami gets a huge victory on the road against the inconsistent Geno Smith.
Week 14 @ Pittsburgh Steelers: If you asked me a few weeks ago, I would have said the Dolphins win this one easily. The sad news is, the Steelers are coming into their own and Ben Roethlisberger is still very good. I see this game being extremely close and low-scoring, but Pitt pulls it out at home.
Week 15 Vs. New England Patriots: This could be an AFC East deciding contest and hopefully Miami’s homecoming will end in a victory. For some reason the idea of Tom Brady building chemistry with his receiving corps and a surprisingly above average Patriot defense is too good to pass up. Tom Terrific beats Miami for the second time this year.
Week 16 @ Buffalo Bills: A more complete and united Dolphins team finishes the game (unlike in their first encounter) and knocks off Buffalo on the road.
Week 17 Vs. New York Jets: This very well could be a win-and-in or lose and go home game. The Jets are always tough and boast one of the league’s better defenses. In the end, I think Ryan Tannehill will beat Geno Smith in an aerial showdown. Miami wins their final game at home.
I have the Dolphins finishing 9-7 and by the looks of the current AFC standings, that could be good enough to make the playoffs as a wildcard. What makes predicting Miami’s remaining games so difficult is that this team has been anything but predictable. They have beaten great teams like the Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons, but have dumped games they should have won against teams like Baltimore and Buffalo. A “winnable” game on their schedule may actually result in the ‘Fins getting blown out. Who knows, they may even beat the Patriots twice. While Miami’s unpredictability is frustrating, it also exciting. Hopefully, Miami can right the ship and finish the season strong and find themselves swimming in January.