Miami Dolphins: Which of Their Remaining Games Is Miami Most Likely to Win?
Going into Week 8, the Dolphins stand at 0-6, which would only be ideal to them if "Suck for Luck" was the goal since the beginning of the season (it wasn't).
Already the Dolphins have fired head coach Tony Sparano...wait, they haven't fired him yet? What about all the talk from Stephen Ross about it last week?
This team is very confusing to me. Yesterday they even signed J.P. Losman, whose name I misspelled as "Lossman" at least 500 times on both Twitter and Facebook without anyone correcting me. And it was a purely unintentional misspelling. I wasn't trying to be witty, funny or snarky; I really thought that that's how his last name was spelled.
Let's face it, if you were to ask Dolphins fans what's more optimistic: the Dolphins winning a game in 2011 or the Miami Heat playing a game before the end of the calendar year, most people will tell you that the Heat will take the court first. And that's even after the news that the NBA has canceled more games earlier this week and could potentially cancel games up until Christmas.
But in the remaining 10 games on the Dolphins schedule, there has to be at least one where they'll come out victorious, right? I mean, they are at least due a Greg Camarillo moment at some point, right?
October 30: at New York Giants
For the second time in the last 13 days, the Dolphins travel to still head coach Tony Sparano's home state, only this time instead of the Jets, they will meet the superior to the Jets in on-the-field play, off-the-field class, uniforms (although my girlfriend, not a fan of either team despite being from Secaucus, N.J., isn't a fan of either team...she likes both unis; I still say the Giants look better) and everything.
The Jets creamed the Dolphins at Met Life stadium; what's to say the Giants won't do the same?
Of course it seems odd to assess the Giants. They're ranked 30th in rushing (when have the Giants ever ranked below 20th in rushing in my lifetime?), have a very average defense and have been battered by injuries.
Yet as it stands, they're currently 4-2 and lead the NFC East. We haven't had the annual October "Is Tom Coughlin On the Hot Seat" overreaction story yet.
I'm tempted to think it will come this week (I mean, at this point any coach that loses to the Dolphins should be on the hot seat), but I doubt it. The Giants know how to win, the Dolphins know how to lose.
So this week, that's a negative. For the second time in 13 days, the Dolphins will leave coach Sparano's home state with a loss.
Maybe they might consider just leaving him there too.
November 6: at Kansas City Chiefs
About four weeks ago, this would've been the obvious "That one, that's the one Miami will win" game.
It had all the makings for it. Kansas City was a terrible team, the game was on the road and there was no reason why Miami couldn't lose this game. Besides, the Chiefs are in Suck For Luck mode too right?
Since starting off the season by scoring a combined 10 points in their first two games, Kansas City has managed to go 3-1 and are riding a three-game winning streak.
Here's what could be on the Dolphins side: Miami could very well be the Chiefs' letdown game.
But I highly doubt that. If there's a team that can't take advantage of situations like this, it's Miami.
Funny too, because this game would be the game that Matt Cassel is due for a stinker. He'll stink against the 'Phins but it won't matter.
November 13: vs. Washington Redskins
Here's how I'd rank the teams who would least like to see Miami with the worst record in the NFL:
5. New England Patriots (Luck could challenge their AFC East dominance within two years)
4. Indianapolis Colts (They want Luck too)
3. New York Jets (Sanchez becomes the fourth-best quarterback in the AFC East if Luck comes to Miami)
2. St. Louis Rams (They'll either trade that pick or trade Bradford; either way, they have the most flexibility out of any contenders for the draft pick)
1. Washington Redskins (Say what?)
Here's why the Redskins wouldn't want the Dolphins to get the No. 1 draft pick: they want Andrew Luck too.
Fortunately (or unfortunately) they already have three wins and should at least get three or four more. Their defense isn't a problem, and their offense does have playmakers. But as all Dolphins fans could tell you, it's a moot point if your quarterback is either Rex Grossman or John Beck.
Now, Daniel Snyder isn't one to make modest moves; he likes the big splash. On the other hand, I can't see him tanking either, nor would coach Mike Shanahan allow the 'Skins to do that. But, both could agree on how much fun it would be to see Luck in the Redskins' burgundy and yellow (or is it gold? I'm never sure. I'm not color blind, but yellows and purples give me problems distinguishing their different shades at times).
Snyder and Shanahan likely know that the Dolphins won't trade the No. 1 pick if they have it unless Luck forces them too (which I FIRST explained in this article is possible but not likely unless either Ireland, Sparano or both are still here).
But St. Louis on the other hand would trade. During the Daniel Snyder era, the 'Skins have never been shy about trading draft picks to pick up someone they really like.
But does this mean the 'Skins lay down? Of course not, like I mentioned before, they're too good of a team, and Shanahan wouldn't let them.
November 20: vs. Buffalo Bills
Miami has had problems beating the Bills when the Dolphins were fighting for a playoff spot and the Bills were terrible.
For the first time ever, the roles have reversed (if you look at the histories of these two teams, you'll find that usually when the Dolphins are good, the Bills are terrible; but when the Bills are good, the Dolphins are at least decent; never have the Bills been playoff-bound while the Dolphins stunk up the joint, until now).
I don't see Buffalo choking this game away; this team looks like not only a playoff team, but a tough out for Houston, Tennessee or whomever wins the AFC West (the winners of the AFC East and North will nab the top two seeds).
Miami will have to wait another week to get their first win.
November 24 (Thanksgiving): at Dallas Cowboys
I just had to put in the picture of the one nice thing Dolphins fans will see during this game on Thanksgiving.
I'm sure Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan speaks quite often with his brother Rex, so I'm sure he'll call him up during this week and ask him about the Dolphins and his opinions on how to stop them. I'm absolutely sure the advice will go a little something like this:
"Rob, the key is to make sure Brandon Marshall gets plenty of passes thrown to him in the red zone. Don't worry about him catching it, its like the f*****g ball is made out of Vaseline for him when he's in the red zone. Oh and be sure to blitz on the right side; don't worry, none of those guys on that side can stop you. If they could, I'm sure you guys wouldn't have cut them. Now best of luck on Thursday, I'm gonna go get a g*****n snack!"
Rob will also be coaching in what will amount to an audition to get the Dolphins job. I see a great defensive effort from the Cowboys defense.
Now why haven't I mentioned Garrett or Romo?
I don't trust either of those guys to win, at all. I'm not very high on Garrett...never was. Even when he was with the Dolphins, there was something about him that I didn't really like.
And if anyone knows how to lose, it's Tony Romo.
Only the Dolphins have perfected the art of losing and taken it to a whole new level.
Not even Tony Romo can win this game for the Dolphins.
December 4: vs. Oakland Raiders
I look at their game against the Chiefs as an aberration. The Raiders had just lost their quarterback, Kyle Boller was their backup, and they had about four days to not only get Carson Palmer into football shape, but also get him up to speed with their offense.
They'll have everything smoothed out after their bye week.
And they too will have their way with the Dolphins, as long as McFadden and Bush continue to get the ball.
December 11: vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Hold that thought, I'll get to them later.
December 18: at Buffalo Bills
Buffalo will be 8-5 going into this game and the way I see it, it'll be tied with the Jets for second in the AFC East and the last playoff spot.
So for the Bills to take on the Dolphins at home? They have to win that. And they will—big.
December 24: at New England Patriots
See that video clip?
Now imagine it, with snow.
Merry ##$%#@$% Christmas Dolfans.
Sorry, I meant Happy @#@$$@##&^ Hollidays!
January 1st, 2012: vs. New York Jets
The Jets will be fighting for a playoff berth, while Miami will be the Dolphins.
Could we see Sun Life Stadium 100 percent filled with 60 percent of them being Jets fans? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
Will I want to go to Sun Life Stadium on that day? No, no, hell to the no.
The Jets, fighting for that last playoff spot with Buffalo, will give everything they've got against Miami while the Dolphins will give up midway through the first quarter.
You know like the last time these two teams played.
But Miami won't finish winless; let's go backwards.
December 11: vs. Philadelphia (Dolphins Win 16-13)
I look at Philadelphia and proceed to take out my nightmare NFL season guide. What is the nightmare NFL season guide you ask?
1. Did they enter the season making a slew of overhyped personnel moves? (Check.)
2. Did said personnel moves lead to heightened expectations? (Check.)
3. Is their schedule tougher than they expected? (Check.)
4. Have they blown games they should've won? (Check, see 49ers and Bills games)
6. Is their highly touted quarterback likely to get hurt? (Check.)
7. Have they lost a game on the road where they were favored by more than a touchdown to an otherwise terrible? (Not yet, guess who that game is against?)
All that's missing from the Eagles' nightmare season is a devastating loss. No loss for any NFL team could be more devastating than to lose to the Dolphins.
But yet it almost seems like that's what fate has in store. The Eagles will crawl their way back into contention, but alas, their final spiral out of it will begin on December 11 when they lost a very winnable game to Miami.
Plus with all of the Miami Heat comparisons everyone threw at Philadelphia, wouldn't it make sense for them to see their season end in Miami? This one seems preordained; I'd probably bet on it right now too.
The Dolphins will go 1-15 (with the Colts going 3-13 and St. Louis going 4-12) and will win the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.
Since I already have everyone's attention, I figured that the final slide of an article would be a great place for a mini-editorial.
And since I'm the type of person who likes listening to music while reading, I included some: this edition of Thomas' Thoughts will be accompanied by Grizzly Bear's song "Two Weeks."
Of course, I'm going to keep it Miami Dolphins-related but I will make this quick: the question a lot of people are asking is who should they blame for the Dolphins' problems?
Right now the popular targets are GM Jeff Ireland, head coach Tony Sparano, former VP of football operations Bill Parcells and owner Stephen Ross.
Believe it or not, I'm going to leave Ross out of this despite his mistakes, because I honestly do believe his mistakes came with good intentions. When he surrounds himself with better football people who know the South Florida market, expect to see much less of him.
As for Sparano, Ireland and especially Parcells, this is all on them.
Bill Parcells proved to me during his Dolphins tenure that all he cares about is cashing checks. He took the Dolphins job after former owner H. Wayne Huizinga offered it to him. In doing that he took advantage of an owner who was sick of the product on the field, but also wanted to add value to a franchise that he knew he was going to eventually sell.
This was why Parcells was able to leave scott-free halfway through last season.
Unfortunately, Ireland didn't go with him, which is a shame, because with Parcells as my No. 1 for this mess, Ireland is a close No. 2.
I almost feel bad for Sparano. He couldn't have imagined a tougher position to be in than the one he's in right now. Since January he's known his days were numbered. If only he had some pride, most people in his position, finding out that your replacement was being scouted out, would have told Mr. Ross to take the job and shove it after he came back without Harbaugh.
The good news is this: it looks like with the exception of Ross, everyone will be out of here on January 2nd. As for how Ross can improve, here's the advice I have for him.
Call him. Ask for his advice for anything football or Dolphins-related. In a later article I'll explain why he should contact Coach Shula, but Ross has to. Ask the man for his opinion for anything you do, even if it is about drafting Andrew Luck, call Shula first (I'm sure coach will tell him to just do it then hang up on him while muttering "what an effing idiot" but I digress).
Call Marino too.
Like I said, I'll explain why as the season goes on, but those are two men who's opinions on football I respect.
And two men who should be on Stephen Ross' speed dial this offseason.
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