Quick, name one big win over a winning team by Miami last season on their way to the playoffs? Can anyone name just one? If anyone answered week six against a Pittsburgh Steelers team starting a four-game losing streak kudos for the great memory. Just like the New York Jets winning ten games in 2015, the Dolphins feasted on a cupcake schedule in 2016.
Here are their ten wins for the Dolphins in 2016: Cleveland in overtime (1-15), Pittsburgh (11-5), Buffalo twice–including once in overtime (7-9), New York Jets twice (5-11), Arizona (7-8-1), San Francisco (2-14), Los Angeles Rams (4-12), and San Diego (5-11). Miami lost to the Patriots twice, the Seahawks, the Bengals, the Titans, the Ravens and the Steelers in the playoffs.
This year the Dolphins have a number of winning teams on their schedule as they play a second place schedule and the NFC South and AFC West–both strong divisions. In addition to the Bills and Jets, the Dolphins travel to face the strong offense of the Los Angeles Chargers, the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons, the Baltimore Ravens (who spanked Miami 38-6 last season), Cam Newton and the 2015 NFC Champion Carolina Panthers (in a prime time Monday night game), the always dangerous Kansas City Chiefs and the Patriots.
At home beyond the Jets and Bills, Miami faces the up-and-coming Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans, the improving New Orleans Saints, the Oakland Raiders, the Denver Broncos, and the defending Super Bowl Champion Patriots. Even penciling in Miami as 4-0 against the Jets and Bills (never a sure thing), it is hard to see Miami winning six of these games with the level of competition.
Another point to consider is that Miami was a rare playoff team who finished the season having been outscored by their opponents over the season. The Dolphins scored 363 points while allowing 380 for the season. That is not a 10-6 season, that is a 7-9 team with extraordinary luck and an easy schedule.