The Miami Dolphins will take their 1-3 record to Cincinnati this Sunday. Cincinnati is sitting at 3-1, and coming off a win at Jacksonville. When you break down the records of each team, you can begin to see this game is going to be a good one. Miami’s 3 loses have came against the 4-0 Houston Texans, the 4-0 Arizona Cardinals, and the much hated division rival Jets, who are 2-2. The three losses for the Dolphins came against teams with a combined 10-2 record. The lone win for the Dolphins came against a Raider team that is also 1-3, but that win came against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The first quarter of the season for the Dolphins looks to be the toughest stretch of games it will have this season.
October and November look like favorable months for the Dolphins. The teams they face are teams the Dolphins can beat. Winning in the NFL isn’t easy, we see that every week. But we do know the Dolphins will be competitive this season thanks to a tremendous defense. The next two months are going to say a lot about what we could be looking forward to in December. Despite the 1-3 start, the Dolphins have a chance to be in the race by December. Or, the Dolphins could be thinking about how they are going to spend the 5 draft picks they have in the first 3 rounds of the 2013 draft.
This weekends matchup against the Bengals looks to be the toughest game on paper for the Dolphins over the next two months. The Bengals are a solid football team, but they have yet to beat a team with a winning record. They were blown out by Baltimore in week 1, and haven’t played anyone with a winning record since, beating Cleveland, Washington, and Jacksonville. Sure it’s early in the season, but it’s easy to tell the Browns and Jags are not very good teams, and the Redskins will be fun to watch, but may not finish above .500. The Ravens were successful using a no huddle offense against the Bengals, something Miami could use against them as well. The Dolphins also have the advantage of having DC Kevin Coyle as well, he knows the defensive personnel of the Bengals, and it’s a sure bet that he has been giving pointers to Mike Sherman for this Sunday’s game. This game is winnable for the Dolphins, and if they do win it, that could start a winning streak that could have the Dolphins in the hunt for a playoff spot by December. Sure, that seems far fetched, and yes it is a long way away, but just look at what Miami has in front of them after they play the Bengals.
They host the Rams on Oct. 12th. The Rams are similar to the Dolphins, they are rebuilding and competitive, and play scrappy. The Dolphins have the better defense and are playing this one at home. Another interesting side note to this game is Jeff Fisher, don’t you think Philbin and his staff would want to stick it to Fisher? Miami has a bye the following week, then they travel to New York to face a Jets team that will look completely different than they did a little under two weeks ago. Gone for the rest of the season are Revis and Holmes, arguably their two best players. Throw in the controversy that the media is creating between Sanchez and Tebow, and you have a complete dumpster fire in New York. The Dolphins have a great chance of avenging their OT loss in week 3. The Dolphins have a legit shot at being 4-3 by the end of October.
November brings more optimism. The Dolphins go on the road to Indianapolis to face fellow rookie QB Andrew Luck. Tannehill has been up to par with Andrew Luck so far this season, and in the 4th quarter, Tannehill has clearly out shined Luck. After the Colts, the Dolphins host the Titans. This Titans team is tough to figure out. Was it a coincidence that the running game with Chris Johnson finally go going once Jake Locker got hurt and Matt Hasselback took his place? I don’t think so, I think teams are loading the box on Locker and forcing him to beat them. Miami has the best rush defense in the league, if Locker plays the defense should have their ears pinned back all day going after him. Their defense is also suspect as well, having given up 34 points or more in EVERY game so far. Then the Dolphins travel up to Buffalo, in a matchup where we have seen everything possible happen over the years. That game is always a toss up between these long time rivals. The Dolphins end November by hosting Seattle. The Seahawk defense is tough, and they have their bye week the week before they travel all the way from Seattle to Miami. It would have been a tremendous advantage for the Dolphins if Seattle was coming off a game the week before, but that situation isn’t going to happen. The Dolphins will also have a little extra time to prepare for this one, they play the Bills the week before on Thursday Night Football.
If, and trust me I know it’s a big IF, Miami can get out of that stretch of game only losing 2 of them, they will find themselves at 6-5, with 3 home games in December. Sure, their 2 road games are against the Patriots and 49ers, and one of their home games is also against the Patriots, but a guy can be optimistic right? After all, the Dolphins are only 1 game out of first right now! Despite how it all plays out, I hope to see continued growth from Ryan Tannehill. He has played way better than I expected so far, and is really generating a lot of excitement for the future of this team.