In 2022, the Miami Dolphins entered the 12th week of their schedule holding an 8-3 record. An impressive start for a first-time head coach. A year later, the team is 8-3 once again.
Miami jumped out to a 3-0 record in 2022 before dropping their next three games. Those games did not feature Tua Tagovailoa who was knocked out of the Bengals game and then missed the Jets and Vikings.
Miami would run off another five wins putting them at 8-3 on the season and in control of the AFC East. They lost control.
The Dolphins ran into several problems. A rusty Tua came back to face the 49ers in San Francisco in the first of a three-game road trip that included back-to-back West Coast games. The Dolphins would return home having lost all three on the road and would lose to the Packers.
The Packers game would be Tua's last of the season. Suffering his 2nd confirmed concussion of the season, Tua was not the same player in the 2nd half of that game and sat out the rest of the season.
Miami would lose their next game against the Patriots before beating the Jets in the final week to lock a playoff spot.
This year, Tua is healthy (knock on wood). The Dolphins' defense is head and shoulders above what they were last year at this time and the Dolphins' offensive line of 2023 looks like a group of Hall of Famers compared to how the unit played last season.
Miami does not have a three game road trip this year and will play only two more games on the road the entire season, at Washington next weekend and a trip to Baltimore in week 17.
So far this year the Dolphins have beaten the teams that they are supposed to beat. The next three games are teams they should beat. If they do that, they will enter the final three weeks, the toughest stretch of the season, at 11-3.
In 2022, the Dolphins finished 9-8. They are two wins away from that not happening again.