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Dolphins fan confidence rebounds as Miami beats Jets, prepares for Washington

The Miami Dolphins are 8-3, in control of the AFC East, and coming off a rivalry win over the New York Jets. How are the fans feeling about the direction of the team?

Miami Dolphins v New York Jets Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins continue to pace the AFC East and fight among thew top-tier teams in the AFC as the NFL schedule moves to Week 13. The Dolphins in Week 12 dispatched the New York Jets 34 to 13, the first of two meetings the clubs will have this season. The win moved Miami to 8-3 for the year, pushing them out to a 2.5-game lead in the AFC East, positioning them to win the division for the first time since 2008.

The Dolphins offense remains the top-ranked unit in the league in total yards and in passing yards, while they are second in rushing yards and scoring offense. The defense has moved into the top ten, ranked seventh overall, sixth against the run, and 11th against the pass. They are still 22nd in terms of points allowed per game, however.

Things could be better for the Dolphins, but overall they are really good. And the fans seem to know it. Our latest SB Nation Reacts poll, brought to us by brought to us by DraftKings Sportsbook, continues the high marks for Miami when it comes to fan confidence in the team.


Dolphins’ fan confidence

After a slight downtick last week, the Dolphins fan confidence rebounded this week as the Miami Dolphins come off their Week 12 win over the New York Jets. The first meeting between the AFC East rivals this year saw Miami go into New York and, highlighted by a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown by safety Jevon Holland just before halftime, demolish the Jets.

As the Dolphins prepare for their game against the Washington Commanders in Week 13, fan confidence moved from 92 percent saying they approved of the team’s direction to 96 percent positive responses. The season-high is a 98 percent positive response, reached in Weeks 3 and 6.

Can the Dolphins get back to that mark with a win on Sunday?

2023 fan confidence history (poll taken after results from listed week):

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%
Week 10 - 94%
Week 11 - 92%
Week 12 - 96%


AFC East fan confidence ratings

We have reached the two-thirds mark of the season, with 12 weeks down and six weeks remaining this year. The SB Nation Reacts poll this week focused on the biggest surprise from Week 12 (the Green Bay Packers upsetting the Detroit Lions) and which head coach will be the next to be fired (Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers), not giving us a lot of Dolphins related results. Instead, a tour of the AFC East fan confidence polls seems in order.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills are 6-6 this year, a disappointing record for a team considered Super Bowl contenders before the season. They still have plenty of time to correct things and get back into playoff positioning, but they are currently 10th in the post-season standings and, if Miami wins on Sunday while the Bills are on their bye, Buffalo would find themselves three-games out of the division title with five games to play. The fan confidence poll, dropping to 23 percent this week, reflects the Bills’ problems this year.

Sitting at home during the bye could be a rough weekend for the Bills and their fans. They are just a half-game out of the final wild card position heading into the week, but if the Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, or Denver Broncos win this weekend, Buffalo would be a full game out of any postseason position. Not where the fans expected their team to be heading into the final weeks of the year.


New York Jets

The Jets, third in the AFC East standings and coming off a loss to Miami, have fallen to 4-7 for the year and do not appear to have a way back into contention. Even the hope of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was designated for return from injured reserve this week opening his 21-day practice window, making a remarkable return from an Achilles tear sustained in Week 1 does not appear strong enough to offset the collapse that is New York’s 2023 season. The fan confidence is at just 20 percent of the fans seeing the team headed in the right direction - though that is technically an increase from last week’s 17 percent. Another team in the AFC East who were considered a Super Bowl contender before the season, the Jets have seen it all collapse.

What the Jets need to do to fix their issues has yet to have a consensus among the fan base. In a second poll question for Week 13, Gang Green Nation asked if the Jets need to fire general manager Joe Douglas, head coach Robert Saleh, both, or neither. They found 39 percent of the fans supported cleaning house and firing both Douglas and Saleh, while 33 percent believe the team should keep both. If the Jets do start to make changes to the coaching staff or front office, what happens with Rodgers, for whom the team traded prior to the season and who played four snaps before the injury, will be fascinating to watch. Do the Jets move on from Rodgers even though they never really benefited from the trade, choosing to gut the team and start over completely? Or would a new coaching staff be lured to New York knowing they have Rodgers at quarterback?


New England Patriots

After two decades of running through the AFC East with ease, thanks to quarterback Tom Brady, the wheels have just about completely fallen off the wagon for the Patriots. When Thursday Night Football is using head coach Bill Belichick in their advertising graphics, rather than any player on the team, there are major issues with the team. The fan confidence results from Pats Pulpit reflect those issues.

The rating of 13 percent is an increase for New England, with only seven percent of the responses from last week indicating they supported the team’s direction. It is a far cry from the 85 percent who were optimistic about the team back in Week 1. New England is 2-9 for the year, in last place in the AFC, and positioned for a top-three draft pick in 2024.

Could this season lead to the firing of head coach Bill Belichick, despite all the team’s Super Bowl success during the Tom Brady era? Rumors and speculation have already started implying we may be seeing the end of Bellichick in New England.


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AFC East standings (through Week 12):

1 - Miami Dolphins (8-3)
2 - Buffalo Bills (6-6) - 2.5 GB
3 - New York Jets (4-7) - 4 GB
4 - New England Patriots (2-9) - 6 GB


AFC playoff picture (through Week 12):

1 - Baltimore Ravens (9-3, AFC North leader)
2 - Kansas City Chiefs (8-3, AFC West leader)
3 - Jacksonville Jaguars (8-3, AFC South leader)
4 - Miami Dolphins (8-3, AFC East leader)
5 - Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4, Wild Card 1 position)
6 - Cleveland Browns (7-4, Wild Card 2 position)
7 - Indianapolis Colts (6-5, Wild Card 3 position)

Houston Texans (6-5)
Denver Broncos (6-5)
Buffalo Bills (6-6)
Cincinnati Bengals (5-6)
Las Vegas Raiders (5-7)
Los Angeles Chargers (4-7)
Tennessee Titans (4-7)
New York Jets (4-7)
New England Patriots (2-9)

Tiebreaks:

  • Chiefs over Jaguars and Dolphins based on head-to-head results
  • Jaguars over Dolphins based on strength of victory
  • Steelers over Browns based on AFC North win percentage
  • Colts over Texans (division tiebreak) based on head-to-head results; Colts over Broncos based on AFC win percentage
  • Texans over Broncos based on AFC win percentage
  • Chargers over Titans and Jets based on AFC win percentage
  • Titans over Jets based on AFC win percentage

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