The Miami Dolphins continue to perplex their notoriously abused fan base by squeaking out victories in the final seconds, the latest being a 14-10 shocker over the Rams in Los Angeles behind touchdown drives in their final two possessions.
At 6-4 with a favorable remaining schedule, some might go as far to proclaim them a likely playoff team. The New England Patriots are their strongest remaining opponent, but could be in full-on Rest Mode when they clash in Week 17.
While ESPN’s Bill Barnwell thinks they could definitely make the postseason, he still considers them average, writing “their five-game winning streak doesn’t hold up well under scrutiny.”
“The downside: Their five-game winning streak doesn’t hold up well under scrutiny. They beat the Steelers 30-15 in a game where Ben Roethlisbergerwas injured and mostly useless in the second half. Miami beat the Bills by three in a game where they were really up by more until a meaningless late Buffalo touchdown, but their next three games have basically been coin flips: They won on a late kick-return touchdown over the Jets, a pick-six with 1:13 left over the Chargers as San Diego was approaching field goal range, and needed two late touchdown drives to prevail over a mostly-useless Jared Goff in his first NFL start on Sunday. They’ve benefited from wildly important-but-unsustainable plays in key moments and an ugly slate of opposing quarterbacks.
A ground game is there, and the defense has woken up, and they may have locked up enough wins at 6-4 to sneak in as an average football team because the remaining schedule isn’t tough: They still have the 49ers, Ravens, Cardinals, Jets and Bills to play before a Week 17 tilt against the Patriots, who might not have anything to play for and would presumably sit the likes of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. FPI may very well be underestimating their chances at this point.”
The fact Miami is in the hunt is amazing considering only six percent of 1-4 teams dating back to 1990 have gone on to make the playoffs. Miami could become the ninth.
ESPN’s FPI metric places their postseason odds at 29.4 percent, FiveThirtyEight places it at 32 percent, and Football Outsiders doesn’t update their playoff odds until after the Monday night game but had them at 45.5 percent last week.
Barnwell is spot-on with his analysis because even if this team makes the playoffs, they’ll still be average, staring down a first-round exit barring some dominant performances down the stretch suggesting significant improvement. They have a plus-two point differential on the season…
At least we can take solace in the fact Ryan Tannehill is looking more comfortable, Adam Gase seems legit, and they just might have another star wideout in DeVante Parker.
Just keep building.