NFL: Why the Miami Dolphins Are Not a Pretender in 2012

Matt Schreiber@@schreiberstakeAnalyst IIINovember 2, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 30:  Head coach Joe Philbin of the Miami Dolphins watches from the sidelines during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 30, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Carindals defeated the Dolphins 24-21 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Many people had the Dolphins winning four games this season. Well, we are eight weeks in, and Joe Philbin has his crew sitting at 4-3.

In fact, if it weren't for a missed Dan Carpenter 40-yard field goal and a Kevin Kolb touchdown pass on fourth down to Andre Roberts deep into the fourth quarter, this team could easily be 6-1. Now let this sink in.

The Miami Dolphins are for real. Only seven teams have winning records in the AFC. The Dolphins are among a few teams with manageable schedules heading into the playoffs.

Let's take a look at what they've got ahead of them.

Week Opponent
9 @IND
10 TEN
11 @BUF
12 SEA
13 NE
14 @SF
15 JAX
16 BUF
17 @NE

If you are seeing what I am seeing, it would not be a stretch to say they can win six of their remaining nine games. Three of their remaining nine games are against the AFC South. Yes, the Colts are also 4-3, but I am not all in on their defense. They have been less than mediocre against the run this year, and with a three-headed rushing attack, the Dolphins should have no problem with the ground-and-pound. 

Also note that five of their remaining nine games are at home, where they are 2-1 on the year. 

You obviously give the edge to the 49ers in their Week 14 matchup, as they are nearly unbeatable at home. It will be a close defensive struggle, but in the end, San Francisco will get the job done.

Miami and New England have a fierce rivalry going, and it's safe to say they can win at least one of their two showdowns. Miami has big linebackers to match up with Hernandez and Gronk, leaving Sean Smith on the outside to guard Brandon Lloyd. Whoever is starting for Miami, whether Tannehill or Moore, won't put up Brady-like numbers, but will also rarely make mistakes.

No defense has been as surprising as the men suiting up for Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle. Their rush defense has been spectacular thus far, giving up only 82 yards per contest. That is the best in the AFC and third best in the league. Scoring doesn't come easy against them either, as they are also best in the AFC and third in the league giving up only 18 PPG. 

I could be wrong. I have been before, but you have got to love what Joe Philbin and his coaching staff have done for the Miami Dolphins.