This time of year usually brings a sense of optimism to every NFL fan base. As teams add exciting new players in the draft and sign established talent in free agency, coaches and owners always seem to have solved all the teams' problems by May. Everyone is undefeated, and nearly every team is picked by someone as this year's potential sleeper that will come out of nowhere to win the Super Bowl.
That is, except the Miami Dolphins. Pretty much everyone paid to have an opinion about the NFL thinks Miami will suck this season. They also have stats, game simulations, and all kinds of other fancy stuff to back that prediction up. So that's fun!
The bad news begins with plain old opinions of people who work at places such as ESPN, USA Today, and NFL Network. What do they know about football, though? NFL Network? Pffft.
USA Today pegs the Dolphins as the 29th-best team in the NFL and points out that "virtually everything rides on Ryan Tannehill's ability to recalibrate to the league, and offense to him[self]. Suh-less defense remains a mystery." ESPN and NFL Network both place the Fins 30th in the NFL, ahead of only the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts.
What's most concerning isn't where the Dolphins fall in a couple of websites' fantasy rankings — it's that the consensus is few teams will be worse than Miami. That idea runs counter to the image projected by the Dolphins organization. These guys think they're in line to win now, not to be terrible with an aim to rebuild in the future.
The statistical projections aren't much kinder to the Dolphins. ESPN's Mike Clay, in particular, has some bad news. Clay is one of the most respected voices in the fantasy industry, so he knows a thing or two about what to expect from individual players. And Clay's expectations for the Dolphins are disturbing.
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He has Tannehill starting all 16 games and throwing for 4,000 yards, but his projected touchdown-to-interception ratio is only 23-14. Clay doesn't predict a 1,000-yard rusher or receiver in Miami this season, with Kenyan Drake (873) and DeVante Parker (867) leading the way in those categories. Clay also posts the Dolphins with an overall "win probability" at 36 percent for the season, with the Fins having a better chance of winning a game than their opponents only twice on the schedule. Overall, Clay predicts the Dolphins will finish with 5.7 wins.
After 10,000 simulations, the Miami Dolphins project to be the worst team in the NFL this season.— Sports Insights (@SportsInsights) May 10, 2018
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If you haven't had enough terrible nerd news up to this point, here's some more: The computers say Miami will suck — royally. They know because they've run the numbers, like 10,000 times. According to all of Bet Labs’ post-draft simulations, Miami is projected to be the worst team in the league. Bet Labs says its computers combine millions of data points to arrive at the simulated game results. The Fins do not look good.
On the bright side, if the Dolphins indeed suck in 2018, they'll have a high pick in the 2019 draft. With that in mind, here are some way-too-early-to-care-about mock drafts. At least a couple have the Dolphins finally taking a quarterback. That may be the only thing for Fins fans to look forward to this year.