Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Schedule

When discussing the reasons for the turnaround of the Miami Dolphins this season, I was remiss in not mentioning the schedule. Yes, the Dolphins and the whole AFC East got lucky matching up against the pathetic the NFC and AFC West divisions this year. No doubt the fans of the Cardinals and the Denver/San Diego winner will feel their souls swell with pride when those “2008 Division Champion” banners are hoisted high next year. Still, Miami’s gone 4-1 in November and 3-0 in December so far. When was the last time this team played that well in down the stretch? Yeah, I know Kansas City’s only won two games all year but I’ve been watching the Dolphins for a long time and this is exactly the kind of game they always lose! You know what I'm talking about Fins fans. A cold-weather road game in December with playoff hopes on the line. A recipe for choking. And yet with everything on the line the Dolphins came from behind to win it! If I didn't before now I know there’s something special about this team and their improvement cannot just be chalked up to better luck, regression to the mean, etc.

I also want to note there that the “last-place schedule” played no role whatsoever in the turnaround. As a reward for 1-15, Miami played last year’s last-place finishers in the AFC North and AFC South. As it turned out, the Baltimore Ravens were a playoff contender and the Houston Texans weren’t half bad. Both teams thumped the Dolphins.

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