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Dolphins fan confidence 2023: Drop after Chiefs loss but AFC East title expected

The Miami Dolphins lost in Week 9 to the Kansas City Chiefs. The fan confidence rating for the team took a dip, but fans still see an AFC East title in the future.

Miami Dolphins v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Week 10 of the 2023 NFL season includes the Miami Dolphins enjoying their one bye week of the season. The team lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9, dropping them to 6-3 on the season, but they continue to hold on to the lead in the AFC East, a position they will continue to hold after the Week 10 slate of games, despite not playing over the weekend.

How are fans feeling about the Dolphins after the loss? At the mid-way point of the 2023 season, what are the biggest needs in 2024 for the Dolphins? Will the Dolphins win the AFC East? The results from our latest SB Nation Reacts polls, brought to us by brought to us by DraftKings Sportsbook, are here to answer those questions.

Dolphins’ fan confidence

This year has seen big drops in the fan confidence rating after each of the Dolphins’ first two losses. After the team lost to the Buffalo Bills in Week 4, the rating moved from 98 percent of the fans feeling Miami was headed in the right direction to 89 percent of them. In Week 7, Miami lost to the Philadelphia Eagles and the confidence fell from a 98 percent rating pre-game down to 75 percent following the loss. With another loss on the record in Week 9, would the confidence rating see another dramatic fall?

Not really. Heading into last week’s game, 95 percent of the fans said they were confidence in the direction of the Dolphins. After losing to the Chiefs, that number dropped just two points to 93 percent. Miami played the Chiefs tough, holding them scoreless in the second half, and had a chance to tie the game late if not for some self-inflicted mistakes. Miami is getting healthy and stood toe-to-toe with the reigning Super Bowl champions. The fans seem to see Miami as headed in the right direction, even with the loss.

2023 fan confidence history:

Preseason - 83%
Week 1 - 97%
Week 2 - 97%
Week 3 - 98%
Week 4 - 89%
Week 5 - 94%
Week 6 - 98%
Week 7 - 75%
Week 8 - 95%
Week 9 - 93%

Biggest 2024 need for the Dolphins

What do the Dolphins need in 2024? According to the fans, the team’s primary focus must be reinforcing the offensive line. The line has played above expectations this season, but there is still room for improvement - especially when it comes to depth as injuries continue to mount. The Dolphins also are facing some offseason decisions when it comes to the linemen, with center Connor Williams, guard Isaiah Wynn, tackle Austin Jackson, guard Robert Hunt, tackle Kendall Lamm, and guard Robert Jones all scheduled to be free agents in 2024.

Also on fans’ minds are the linebacker and tight end positions. In the survey, 14 percent of the fans believe linebacker is the primary need for the Dolphins in 2024, with eight percent believing it is the tight end position. Six percent of the fans voted defensive tackle as the team’s biggest offseason need.

AFC East division champions

The Dolphins are holding on to the top spot in the AFC East lead heading into Week 10 and, even if the Buffalo Bills, currently second in the division, win this weekend while Miami is on their bye week. The Bills have the head-to-head tiebreak on the Dolphins right now, but Miami can even the season series in Week 18 when the two rivals meet in South Florida

AFC playoff picture (National questions)

AFC playoff picture (through Week 9):

1 - Kansas City Chiefs (7-2, AFC West leader)
2 - Baltimore Ravens (7-2, AFC North leader)
3 - Jacksonville Jaguars (6-2, AFC South leader)
4 - Miami Dolphins (6-3, AFC East leader)

5 - Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3, Wild card 1 position)
6 - Cleveland Browns (5-3, Wild card 2 position)
7 - Cincinnati Bengals (5-3, Wild card 3 position)

Buffalo Bills (5-4)
Houston Texans (4-4)
Los Angeles Chargers (4-4)
New York Jets (4-4)
Indianapolis Colts (4-5)
Las Vegas Raiders (4-5)
Tennessee Titans (3-5)
Denver Broncos (3-5)
New England Patriots (2-7)

Nationally, the fans seem to believe the Pittsburgh Steelers, in the fifth position in the AFC playoff picture, are the team most likely to fall out of a postseason position this year. The AFC North has all four teams in playoff positions, leading to the Cleveland Browns the second-most likely team to lose their spot in the postseason tournament according to the fan vote.

According to the fan vote, replacing the Steelers in the playoffs would be the Buffalo Bills. The Los Angeles Chargers received the second-most votes for teams outside the playoffs making their way into a position.

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