When was the last time the Dolphins were .500 or better in October? It was 2005 under Nick Saban.
Sure, that was just 3 years ago - which isn't too long. But doesn't it seem longer than that? After all, it was 7 starting quarterbacks ago.
And when was the last time a Dolphins team - or any team, for that matter - defeated in back-to-back games the two teams who faced each other the previous season in the AFC Championship Game? As far as I know, it's never happened.
That's exactly what the Dolphins will hope to do on Sunday in Dolphin Stadium. They will look to improve to 2-2 on the season by defeating last season's AFC title game participants, the Patriots and the Chargers, in back-to-back games. By doing so, this team would legitimize their big win last week to the rest of the league.
But a win would also do more than legitimize this Dolphins team. Not only would they be a step closer towards erasing last season's horrific memories, but they'd also - at least for now - have to be involved in any potential playoff talk.
Now I'm not saying that the Dolphins are going to go to the playoffs. I'm not even saying that they'll be in playoff contention come mid-November. But what I do know is that a 2-2 record would, for now, put Miami into the thick of things in the AFC - an AFC that seems to be far weaker than it has been over the past few years.
The Dolphins also play 6 of their next 8 games - including Sunday's game - at home in Dolphin Stadium. So now is the time for this team to come up with some "home cooking."
And the team is well aware of that. Says Tony Sparano:
"If we’re going to be where we want to be, we need to play well at home. That’s something that we’ve talked an awful lot about this week."
The Dolphins also haven't had a true "home-field advantage" - well, outside of the heat and humidity - in a long time. Some dreadful seasons will do that. Fans just don't come out and spend their hard-earned money to see a lousy team. Now is their chance to prove that this year's team is not like the ones in recent memory. These next 6 home games represent opportunities for the Dolphins to prove to their fans first-hand that they are a different team - a greatly improved team.
Sunday's game against the Chargers is the first step in this process.
This game is, indeed, the biggest game a Dolphins team has played in a few years. It should be fun.