I’m going to be direct - let’s stop with the hyperbole. No, this is not a must win game for the Miami Dolphins and no, it is not a game where the Dolphins must beat the New York Jets to prove they have changed the culture. But, they do have to do something to show us that this isn’t the same old Dolphins. More on that in a minute.
When Dan Campbell was the interim head coach of the Dolphins, he told a group of reporters that you’re not going to win every game in the NFL. While nice, it just isn’t reality. But then, he went further. He said that when his team goes on a road trip to play a good opponent, the odds are already against you. Then, he said if his team is going to lose on the road to a good opponent, he wants to see them go down kicking and screaming.
I was one of those reporters in the room and when I heard this, a light bulb went on. Campbell said you need to win your games at home, win the games against lesser opponents on the road, and squeak out a few on the road against good opponents. The rest? You fight until the very last second.
Makes complete sense, right? Yes!
And that is why when I sit down to watch this game today, this is exactly what I want to see from the Dolphins. Yes, a victory would be fantastic, and it will continue to propel the Dolphins forward. But, this game is a toss-up.
It’s a toss-up for numerous reasons – one being the fact that we don’t know who the Dolphins or Jets are. We don’t know who any team in the NFL is right now, except for the New England Patriots. One week has passed, and we’ve all seen the Dolphins start fast only to wither away as the season winds down. We’ve also seen them start slow only to wake up and finish the season strong.
It’s also a toss-up because it’s a rivalry game and we know that records and previous performance goes out the window when the clock starts ticking.
Today’s game will show us signs of what way the team is headed, but in no way is this a defining game for either team. Now, if it is a blowout victory for either team, then the conversation will change a bit, but I don’t think it will drastically change. This is a week to week league and you don’t get carryover points for your performance the previous week.
For today, though, hope for a Dolphins victory. If they aren’t successful, hope that they go down kicking and screaming.