The Miami Dolphins spent a week in California and left the Golden State with two losses. It was a rough road trip for the Dolphins, losing their Week 13 meeting against the San Francisco 49ers, then failing to bounce back in Week 14 against the Los Angeles Chargers. As they prepare for a third-straight game on the road, they are scheduled to face perhaps the toughest of the three opponents over this stretch - the Buffalo Bills. A season that once had Miami considered among the league’s elite now has their status as a contender being questioned.
And clearly, it is not just the analysts who are starting to turn against the Dolphins. A large portion of the fan base is now worried about the team. Last week, our weekly SB Nation Reacts fan confidence poll had 96 percent of the fans saying they are confident in the direction of the team, a slight dip from the 99 percent where it had been. This week, the fan confidence rating took a nose dive.
Starting at last week’s 96 percent mark, we saw a 40-point drop this week. Instead of a nearly unanimous feeling that the Dolphins are headed in the right direction, we now see just over a majority of the fans feeling confident. Our Week 15 fan confidence rating comes in at 56 percent.
Obviously, two straight losses where the team never felt right will lead to a drop in fan confidence. The Dolphins have struggled during this road trip, but what is the biggest disappointment from the last two weeks, according to Dolphins fans?
Our poll this week asked that question and the top responses were fairly even. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took the brunt of the answers, with 38 percent of the fans looking at the player who was leading the league in Pro Bowl voting as of last week. After that, the lack of a running game came in with 30 percent of the vote. Behind that, the coaching took the ire of 24 percent of the fans, while the defense only picked up seven percent of the responses and the wide receivers saw just one percent of the vote.
The Dolphins are currently in second place in the AFC East and in the sixth spot in the AFC playoff picture. Miami has a clear path to the postseason this year and, according to Five Thirty-Eight, they currently have a 70 percent chance of making the postseason. A win on Saturday night moves them up to an 89 percent chance to make the playoffs, while a loss drops them to 64 percent.
How will Saturday night’s game against the Bills play out? And how will it impact our next fan confidence poll? Will we see a rebound if Miami wins? Will we see full panic mode if they lose?