The Miami Dolphins made the post-season for the first time in eight years and many are already excited about 2017.
Reading many reports in both the mainstream and local media as well as social media commentary from fans, one thing is certain. No one really knows what will happen in 2017. And there is no way that they should.
Some believe that Miami will fall into a sophomore slump under Adam Gase. Others believe that the incredibly tough schedule will be their demise. Still others want to point to the lack of roster depth and quality starters. Then there is the group who is certain that Miami will never win anything with Ryan Tannehill as the quarterback.
Guess what? I don’t believe any of that at all. In fact, I think 2017 will be one of the Dolphins best seasons ever. And I’m about to show and tell you why. Hold on while I hang up the “homer hat” because if there is one thing I am not, it’s a homer. That title belongs to my brother James….(unbelievable homer).
Let us start with the schedule because when it all comes down to it, it’s all a matter of wins vs. losses vs. the records of the other teams. And if you are going to judge the Dolphins chances in 2017 you have to start within the division.
An interception. A fumble. Two plays that turned the momentum from the Dolphins to the Patriots. Two games that the Dolphins might have won but were not quite ready to win. The Dolphins swept the Jets and Bills and honestly they should be favorites to do so again in 2017. At least against the Jets and once against the Bills.
More from Dolphins News
- 4 offensive tackles Miami Dolphins could draft at 51
- Miami Dolphins don’t need CB help but these 5 could be available at 51
- 4 players that could replace Wilkins if Miami Dolphins don’t re-sign him
- Miami Dolphins have a starting point with Wilkins after Simmons deal
- The Miami Dolphins should not take a running back in the draft
Miami played New England close and until this year had split with the Patriots the previous three years…with far worse teams. In fact, the Dolphins looked to be taking over the week 17 game with a back-up quarterback, a bunch of back-up defenders, and after spotting the Patriots a big first quarter lead.
If the Dolphins can take four from the Jets and Bills and one from the Patriots, they are 5-1 in the East and positioned to take the division depending on what they do outside of the division.
Obviously we do not know the “when” of next years schedule but we do know the “who and where”. Taking a look outside the division for home games is a good place to start as four non-divisional games will be played in Miami.
The Dolphins have a tough schedule. Of that it is very clear. The AFC West was dominant this year and two of the four teams made the post-season and the other two were competitive, San Diego less than the Broncos.
Miami will host the Oakland Raiders. Traditionally the Dolphins play well at home against West Coast teams so despite the fact that the Raiders played very well this year they are not head and shoulders above the Dolphins at this point. Miami will also host Denver, Tampa Bay, and Tennessee.
Of those games, Tampa Bay and Tennessee should be wins. The Dolphins didn’t beat Tennessee in 2016 but they could have and if they had played them later in the year they very well may have. Tampa is an enigma. They are getting better but will they have a bigger jump in 2017? That is no more clear that Miami’s jump.
Miami needs to win at least two of those games and take the London “home” game against the New Orleans Saints. The Saints are not a good football team and they won’t likely be in 2017 either as they make a lot of changes on defense yet again. Combined with the East games, the Dolphins could have 8 wins without looking at the away games.
San Diego will be tough because the Dolphins struggle on the road out West but the Chargers are going to be in flux. Not just as a team but where they will be playing as well. Miami beat them this year and should be better next season. Carolina is another team that the Dolphins can beat even if the Panthers are healthy. Charlotte is not a hostile environment for visiting teams. That leaves Baltimore, Kansas City, and Atlanta.
While it’s impossible to say Miami will win all of them, winning one of them will help. With 8 victories penciled in with home games and the East, Miami could win three of their road games to improve to 11 wins on the season. It’s not impossible.
In fact, it’s not impossible with the current roster the way it is now.