Mathematically speaking, there’s a whole lot of ballgame left for the 2021 NFL regular season. 14 games, to be exact. And there’s a lot that can change in 14 games. For the Miami Dolphins’ sake, they’d better hope that’s true. and that a whole lot of dynamics of the team that is currently in place does change by the time January rolls around.
But as the Dolphins try to sort through their imperfections, the team must now begin to shift their eyes towards historical precedent and be mindful that yet another slow start could be the death of Miami’s postseason aspirations — which already look rocky at best after getting shelled by Buffalo and letting a win against the Las Vegas Raiders slip through their fingers.
Based on the last decade of NFL history, Miami ought to consider Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts a “must win” scenario — or else those playoff hopes can be kissed goodbye. Especially with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looming in Week 5.
NFL records 2009-2019 matched with the percentage of the time a team would have made the NFL’s new 14-team playoff. Tossed out ties. Enjoy. pic.twitter.com/24qPwqVheN
— Justis Mosqueda (@JuMosq) September 15, 2020
According to research conducted by Justis Mosqueda on 2009-2019 seasons, teams that start 1-3 have just a 10% chance of finishing in the top-7 seeds in the conference. And that doesn’t include Miami in 2020, who started 1-3 after losses to New England, Buffalo and Seattle before getting hot and running off 9 wins in their next 12. Miami still missed the 7th-seed cutoff.
No one wanted to be here this early on. And the 17th game does add a dynamic of the unknown for the math. But Miami’s season appears to be at an early tipping point. Because after Tampa Bay comes Buffalo (again) in Week 8. And then Baltimore in Week 10.
Those are tough draws for Miami — so they’d better take care of business elsewhere. That starts Sunday against the Colts.