In the past few months, we’ve already covered the logistical nightmare that the Dolphins schedule poses for the team. Examples include having only 7 home games instead of 8, a brutal travel schedule, backloaded home games (so that Bills and Patriots visit Florida during perfect December weather, instead of muggy September), etc.
But now it’s time to dig into the REAL nightmare. Never mind the travel and scheduling. It’s now time to look at the power of our opponents. And there is no good news.
We studied the Top Scoring offenses last year. For the record, the Dolphins were at the low-middle side at #17.
But of the Top 10 teams, the Dolphins have 8 games against such opponents this upcoming season. It’s shocking. We get Atlanta (#1) , New Orleans (#2), and New England (#3), all on the road. Not to mention we get New England again at home.
The math sounds insane, but we play 4 times against the league’s Top 3 teams. Think about that. 4 games against the three most potent offenses out there.
It doesn’t get much easier. We also play Oakland (#7), the Chargers (9), and Buffalo (10) twice! That makes EIGHT GAMES (half of our season) against those high-powered scoring machines.
If you want to expand it further, we also get KC (13), Titans, (14), and Carolina (15). That makes 11 games vs. Top-15 teams. That leaves only 5 games against others. 2 of those 5 are the Jets (who we have to consider a poor offense). But the other 3 non-top-15 offenses are Denver, Tampa, and Baltimore. I don’t call any of those offenses poor. Plus, no matter what you think of their offenses, they are teams that always always beat the Dolphins.
Most of this is just the luck of the NFL’s ridiculous rotating schedule, where the AFC East plays the NFC South this year, and all 4 NFC South teams are extremely strong. Compare that to the AFC North teams like Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Cincy, who all get to feast on the NFC North’s weak teams. Other than the Packers, no one in that division scares you. I bring this up each year, because in all reality, the Dolphins are battling for a wild card spot, as we have to assume New England will win our division. Therefore, New England is not a wild card competitor for us. Pitt/Cincy/Baltimore ARE. Denver/Oakland/KC ARE. The unbalanced schedule kills teams every year.
The NFL is the only sport that actively (tries to) give the weaker teams and easier schedule and the championship teams a harder schedule. However, the rotating divisions each year counteract the parity that the NFL is trying to establish.
Our defense could be much improved. And it needs to be. Our offense MUST be improved. I can’t see our defense shutting down Top 10 offenses consistently. Do you think Drew Brees or Tom Brady fear Bobby McCain? No. We cannot rely on the D.
We need to rely on the offense to gel and click. Being ranked 17 in points just can’t cut it.