If you have read any of my previous contributions to this site, you know I am constantly looking for the bright side of Dolphins football. I constantly try to see where improvements have been made, where the team played well, how things may have gone differently if the ball bounced for the Dolphins instead of against them. I usually give the coaching staff and front office personnel the benefits of the doubt, because they see and know more than any of us, given that they are with the team every day. I want to believe in them - I really do.
But, it's hard to do right now.
Call it Chicken Little Syndrome. Call it a reality check. Call it whatever you want. All I know is, I am disappointed and - literally - hurting from what I have seen from this team.
I'm still hopeful, don't get me wrong. I'm rooting for a 10&6 season. I know we can beat the Jets. But, I can't believe in Week 13, Miami is still just a .500 team.
So, now what?
What happens over the next 4 weeks?
The rest of this season will be spent playing the role of spoiler. And, who shall we try to "spoil" first? None other than our hated rival, New York Jets. After watching the New England Patriots dismantle the Jets, the Dolphins get their second shot of the season at Gang Green Nation. I's not going to be easy. The Jets are going to be playing angry after the Patriots embarrassment. It's going to be cold in New York. Anything to be learned form the Patriots loss will have been scrutinized by the Jets staff, and scheme adjustments will have been made.
It's not going to be easy.
After that, the Dolphins face the Bills and Lions in Miami, before heading north again to face the Patriots in Foxboro. Without looking ahead at these team, I would hope Miami can at least finish at 9&7 this year, if not sweep these next 4 games, and get to 10&6.
Now, I know we all have questions. Is Chad Henne THE guy? What's going to happen with our running backs after the season? Why can't we maximize Brand Marshall? Any non-former CFL Defensive Players of the Year want to threaten opposing QBs?
Oh, the questions.
Questions that will continue to plague us thorughout the next four weeks, and all the way through the off season. Questions that will grow in serveity and number as the offseason begins and moves along.
But, at least for right now, let's just hope the next four weeks will maybe answer a couple.
Since I haven't posted a Perspective since the Phins were 3&3, I'm not going to give a comparison to my previous power rankings this week. Essentially, I am just going to start with a new slate of ranks.
1. New England Patriots. The Pats are Super Bowl favorites - for this week.
2. Atlanta Falcons. Early this season, the top 10 were dominated by AFC teams. Now the Falcons are the first of 6 NFC teams at the top.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers. Steelers at number 3, Ravens at number 4. Maybe it should be the other way. But, I'm not really sure it matters. These two teams are equal in every way.
4. Baltimore Ravens. Seriously. These two teams are equal. Since 2009, the two teams have each scored 67 points against each other. They've split those 4 games, with 2 wins each. Take your pick on which one is better.
5. New Orleans Saints. The Super Bowl Champs have an offense again.
6. Chicago Bears. No, really, the Bears are leading the NFC North and are 4&0 in the Division.
7. Green Bay Packers. Just pointing out, the Packers 8 wins this year have come against the Eagles, the Bills, the Lions, the Vikings (twice), the Jets, the Cowboys, and the 49ers. Losses to Chicago, Miami, Washington, and Atlanta. Not exactly great stuff.
8. Philadelphia Eagles. Vick for NFL MVP may be a bit overrated - but Comeback Player of the Year is a lock.
9. New York Giants. It's Week 14, and I still don't know what to think of the Giants.
10. New York Jets. Against the Patriots, they looked horrible on offense, defense, and special teams. At least they still talk a good game, though.
11. Kansas City Chiefs. Pre-season, in a division with the Broncos, the Raiders, and the Chargers, the Chiefs were locked in as basement dwellers. Week 14, the Chiefs lead the AFC West by 2 games. Who saw that coming?
12. Jacksonville Jaguars. Pre-season, in a division with the Colts, the Texans, and the Titans, the Jaguars were locked in as basement dwellers. Week 14, the Jags lead the AFC South by 1 game. Who saw that coming?
13. San Diego Chargers. The Chargers don't lose in December - except last week.
14. Indianapolis Colts. The Colts fall in at #14 because they are 14&0, right? Otherwise, the entire NFL world is screwy this year.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.Too bad the Bucs play in a Division with New Orleans and Atlanta.
16. St. Louis Rams. They are only 6&6, but for the Rams, that's huge. Now add in the fact that they are leading their Division.
17. Cleveland Browns. I've been beaten up for ranking the Browns high in the past, and yet, they just continue to play some good football. Maybe not great, but good.
18. Miami Dolphins. And playing that good football had Cleveland beat a Miami team that should have won the game.
19. Oakland Raiders. The Raiders aren't good, but they did just beat the Chargers in December, and are undefeated in their Division.
20. Seattle Seahawks. Trying to make a run at the NFC West crown.
21. Dallas Cowboys. Just to keep the Dallas - Miami family tree tangled some more, remember when Jason Garrett was a backup QB and then the QB coach for the Dolphins?
22. Houston Texans. This team started off well, and was being looked at to end the Colts run as AFC South Champs. Right year for that to happen, just the wrong team to make it happen.
23. Tennessee Titans. 5 losses in a row, and this team is just a mess.
24. Minnesota Vikings. Multiple Choice Question: Favre's streak is in jeopardy because of (a) shoulder, (b) ankle (c) Jenn Sterger (d) retirement.
25. San Francisco 49ers. Fill In The Blank Question: The 49ers Starting QB is _____ Smith.
26. Denver Broncos. Josh McDaniels is out. Now what happens to Tebow?
27. Washington Redskins. Haynesworth is suspended for four games - not that he actually helped the team this year anyway.
28. Buffalo Bills. I'm actually impressed that the Bills made it this high on the power rnaking this year.
29. Arizona Cardinals. You mean losing Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin, and Karlos Dansby makes winning hard?
30. Detroit Lions. I like this team. I like how they are being built. I like the talent they are starting to develop. I like where this team is headed. Too bad it will take another couple of years to get out of the bottom third of the league.
31. Cincinnati Bengals. I don't like this team. I don't like how they are being built. I don't like the fact that they aren't really developing any talent. I don't like where this team is headed. It's going to take a couple of years just to start the rebuilding this team needs.
32. Carolina Panthers. Ummmm....is there anything to say about the year the Panthers are suffering through?
Targets of Opportunity.