The Miami Dolphins are now 3-0, leading the AFC East, and that should surprise the nation seeing as how the narrative has gone throughout the offseason that the team would end of 3-13 or 4-12 depending on who you ask.
However, if the Dolphins want to be taken seriously around the NFL, they need to start beating some of the better teams– and that test starts this Sunday against the New England Patriots.
As of now, the Dolphins have handled their business and beaten the teams they should have.
In Week 1, the Tennessee Titans lost their starting quarterback Marcus Mariota and were forced to play Blaine Gabbert (I dont care what kind of team you are, that’s already an immediate advantage). The Titans also lost their starting left tackle Taylor Lewan in that game, and tight end Delanie Walker. Not to mention playing with a new coach Mike Vrabel in his first head coaching gig.
In Week 2, Miami went up to New York and faced a Jets team coming off a 2017 5-11 season and a rookie quarterback who we’ve seen go through some growing pains the last couple weeks.
In Week 3, the Dolphins beat a Raiders team who went 6-10 in the previous season, acquired a new coach Jon Gruden who hasn’t coached in the NFL since 2008, left his job in broadcasting, made some controversial acquirements and trades in offseason (including getting rid of their lone star defensive player Khalil Mack), and now find themselves 0-3.
All these games have been won by a point differencial of 7 or 8. That’s a touchdown and an extra point/2-point conversion away from a tie.
The Dolphins have scraped and clawed their way out of these games. They are a feisty team, no doubt.
But now come the Patriots this Sunday.
And nationwide, the Patriots will remain “the Patriots”, until they fall off a cliff during the regular season, or lose head coach Bill Belichick or Tom Brady. They have earned that respect over the years since winning their first Superbowl with quarterback Tom Brady back in 2001.
The Dolphins have a fair chance in this game. The Patriots have struck some adversity while losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Lions. There’s been talk of their receiving core not being able to separate from coverage, and Brady didn’t look like his typical self against the Lions.
But the Patriots have added a new weapon in Josh Gordon via trade with the Browns in hopes of finding that big-target and downfield element that can potentially jump-start their offense.
How much Gordon will factor in remains to be seen as this will be his 2nd game with the team, but rest assured he will probably be covered by the Dolphins #1 shutdown corner Xavien Howard who has been having a tremendous season and currently leading the team with 3 interceptions.
If the Dolphins can go into Foxboro and escape with a win, they will become 4-0 on the season, distance themselves over their AFC East rivals (more importantly, what would be a 1-3 Patriots), and continue to build upon their notority, league-wide respect, and national attention which they have lost over the years.