Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The 2009 Schedule

The Dolphins play 16 games this year against 13 different opponents. They did the same thing last year and came out on top 11 times.

Of the 13 we faced in 2008, their ending record was 91 and 117. 43% win rate.

Of the 13 we face in 2009, their ending record from 2008 was 125 and 83. 60% win rate.

Well I'll be damned, we DO have a tougher schedule...or do we? If we're going to make blanket statements that's fine, but if you've got time to look further you may find the blanket doesn't 'cover' the full truth.

For example, in 2007, the teams we faced in 2008 had an almost identical record of 92 and 116, a 44% win rate. Keep in mind this includes a NE team that went from 16-0 to 11-5 and a Baltimore team that went from 5-11 to 11-5. The Jets improved by 5 games and the Dolphins by 10.

On the other side, our future 2009 opponents put together an impressive 2007, going 117 and 91. But this 56% win rate was significantly lower than their 2008 one, and the on year difference included Jacksonville sliding by 6 games, Carolina increasing by 5 games, and so on.

Truth is, you'd be hard-pressed to find a team in the NFL that consistently wins at a high rate. Even the New England and Pittsburgh teams have their rise and fall years. Miami was 32-2 in 72/73 before going 6-8 just 3 years later after a steady decline. In general, teams fluctuate by anywhere from 2 to 5 games a season.

Now it would be impossible for all of our 2009 opponents to have such a fluctuation since they play against each other in 3 divisions. But let's just speculate that just 1/3 of them have a downward fluctuation of 3 games a piece and the rest of them post exactly the same record as they did in 2008. That would end up with a 53% win rate, or a 7% drop from the previous year.

What if every team posts the same record, 60% is an average 10-6 record. The Dolphins, at 11-5 for 2008, actually outperformed their 2009 opponents as a whole.

But let's look at another angle, the historic head-to-head records, by each team.

MIA vs. Atlanta
7 - 3

vs. Indy
46 - 23

MIA vs San Diego
14 - 12

MIA vs New Orleans
6 - 3

MIA vs. NY Jets
40 - 46 - 1 tie

MIA vs Tampa Bay
4 - 4

MIA vs Carolina
3 - 0

MIA vs Buffalo
52 - 37 - 1 tie

MIA vs New England
49 - 38

MIA vs Jacksonville
3 - 1

MIA vs Tennessee
17 - 14

MIA vs Houston
O - 4

MIA vs Pittsburgh
11 - 11

You may have noticed Miami has a sizable lead in the head-to-head department. 258 wins to 190 losses and two ties. That is the equivalent of a 9 - 7 record, or 57%. This 57% is also higher than the speculated 53% win rate of our opponents from above.

Sure alot of this is speculation and statistics, but even Mr. Spock would not consider it illogical that Miami can make the playoffs against 'the toughest schedule' in the NFL.

Keep in mind that Pittsburgh has gone through typical post-Super Bowl attrition, losing several contributors from the previous season, as has Tennessee, Tampa Bay, the Jets, etc. Indianapolis isn't getting any younger and has a new coach. Jacksonville was terrible last year yet they let several of their best players go in the off-season.

We lost to Houston last year (and every time we've faced them), but our secondary is bigger and all indications are we'll have a better pass rush this year. I am not scared to face any of these teams in 2009. I think our improved team actually matches up well 'on the field' with most of them. I think that with the intangibles included we can beat any and all of them.

I believe we can sweep both the Jets and the Bills. The coldest game we will play in this year is in Buffalo on Nov. 29th - estimated 40 degrees. 3 of our last 5 games are at home, and the other two are in Jacksonville and Tennessee. 3 of our FIRST 5 games are at home. After we face the Jets in week 5, we have a bye week to recover and rest/prepare for the tough middle stretch where four of the next six are on the road. If we can win 3 of 5, then 2 of 6, then 3 of 5, we'll be 8-8. There's no reason why we can't steal a few on the road as well.

In the end it will come down to who has the best game plan that week, the best preparation, the best health, and the best motivation. I don't think talent is an issue, I believe we have talent at every position. If all the rest falls into place we should end up with a winning record and a playoff berth come January 2010.


  1. "The Dolphins play 16 games this year against 13 different opponents." dont they every year.

    got to tell you tin, understanding the IRS code is easier then understanding your article LOL

  2. ffr, that was my point.  they play the same number of games and same number of opponents each year.
    And if you think this is obvious, why can't you understand it?  Now I'M confused!

  3. i understand that part, it was the rest of the article that was hard to follow

  4. I thought it was all about who had the most points at the end of the game.  :)

  5. son of a son of a shulaJune 11, 2009 at 10:18 AM

    Most of these teams are our "bitches" and that shouldn't change. We owe J-Ville an ass whoopin, redemption for Danny. And my god could we please beat Houston already. At least we get them at end of the season after their division as destroyed them. Tenn is without Haynesworth so that's good for us. Chargers never scared me although we do go there that sucks. N.O. will be a tough game this year I think.

  6. just as long as we beat the bucs, i dont want you guys reading about a man in tampa that goes crazy and hacks up his family on the trip back to tampa from miami

  7. The bucs should be an easy mark this year.

  8. son of a son of a shulaJune 11, 2009 at 10:26 AM

    The bucs should be an easy mark this year!

  9. well now you'll never get away with it since you posted it on the interweb!

  10. N.O. is always a test for the secondary.  thank heavens we upgraded it

  11. The Bucs are my pick for the mediocrity of the year.  Detroit '08, Miami '07, etc.

  12. son of a son of a shulaJune 11, 2009 at 10:31 AM

    I could see that. It would be great too my daughters boyfriend is a buc fan, more ammo for the old man.

  13. The Knight who says Ni!June 11, 2009 at 10:36 AM

    Tin, I think the Jets have the edge head-to-head 46-39-1. They've beat us so many times this decade I believe they passed us. Sorry to throw a monkey wrench into your impressive formula.

  14. 'daughters boyfriend is a buc fan'   my daughter can bring home an illegal alien sucking off the goverments hind tit for the last 70 years before i would allow her to bring home a buc fan LOL

  15. The Knight who says Ni!June 11, 2009 at 10:36 AM

    You have those kinds of thoughts?  :-E

  16. Parcells, Ireland & Sparano come to the laughingstock of the AFCE with a plan that in one year picked the team off the deck and made them division champions.
    To me, that's a significant upward trend!
    Dynasty? Nah, not quite, but contending with The Dynasties, for sure!

  17. you're right I wrote it down wrong, but it is 46-40-1 after Miami won the last one. ;)
    I'll fix it now.

  18. son of a son of a shulaJune 11, 2009 at 10:45 AM

    He's not allowed in the house on Sunday's especially when he has gear on. At least he's not stej or patsies, course she would have never to begin with.

  19. fan a.k.a. The Knight who has No Life!June 11, 2009 at 10:45 AM

    I don't get this blog what kind of math is this?
    Do you think the Dolphins can go undefeated again?

  20. For the record, i had it written down correctly in my notes, I just typed it in wrong, so the resulting math was still right.  Thanks for pointing out my 'wishful thinking' typo.

  21. Personally I hope no one goes undefeated again, but if it has to happen, I'd prefer it be the Dolphins.
    As for the math, I can 'do' math but I can't explain it.

  22. Your daughter likes 70 year old men?  Now I know why she is going to be a nurse.

  23. according to my wife it's whoever's wearing the tightest uniforms...

  24. The Knight who says Ni!June 11, 2009 at 12:17 PM

    Tin, that would make it an odd number. Unless we didn't always play division rivals twice. The link I sent you had the correct 0-4 record against Houston so I figured they had the Jets record correct.

  25. The Dolphins and Jets met ONCE in the playoffs, for the 1982 AFC Championship.  Miami won 14-0 in the Orange Bowl.  I bet at least one of our commenters was there.....any takers?

  26. The Knight who says Ni!June 11, 2009 at 12:49 PM

    Oh those records count playoffs? That was the mud bowl. A.J. Duhe had 3 interceptions.

  27. The Knight who says Ni!June 11, 2009 at 12:50 PM

    Cute hat, fan. LOL

  28. I didn't actually comment about this post earlier, but when I read it I more or less agreed with you on everything except the historical head-to-head (which I don't think has much significance). The bottom line in any debate about our schedule or strength of schedule in general is the 08 Steelers. They had a .598 sos, the toughest in the league and they won the Superbowl. If you are the best, you have to beat the rest, no matter who they are, when they are put in front of you. Who is to say that lightning won't strike twice and we do what the Steelers did. "Why not us?"

  29. fan a.k.a. The Knight who has No Life!June 11, 2009 at 1:28 PM

    Todd never came over i don't know where he is.
    I'm just glad i don't have to do the math its not my best subject.

  30. Tin you mentioned head to head combat over the years, but it's more about head to head each week.  How the Dolphins matchup each week with the team they play on Sunday is what matters.  In the NFL any given team in any week can beat you.  So the schedule doesn't really mean that much.
    If Miami loses a key player at the wrong time, or that happens to the team they are playing that has great bearing on the outcome.  Last years team was undermanned at nearly every position before preseason.  Then we picked up Penny a great addition, and Long played better than what we all thought.  Then there was the defense that really steped it up.  Then last but not least a real NFL coaching staff and management.
    Those are the reasons we were better.  I ask has anything changed ?  Are we not better than last year ?  The Dolphins are better than last year and it will show on the field.  So as Knight says :  Why not us ?

  31. I like the way your wife is thinking on this, most of the time.  But some of those guys, maybe not so much.
    I know you are talking about the schedule, but I am hoping for a few more than 16 games!

  32. And this is not the topic, but I just saw on local news that Pat White was drafted again in MLB draft, 40 something round, by the Yankees.  Why do they do that?  He's not going to play.  And 40 some rounds.  How many do they have anyway? 

  33. I just realized I should have given this one to MB at the SS.  Right up his alley.  But I'm still annoyed over my scolding yesterday.  :'(

  34. The Knight who says Ni!June 11, 2009 at 3:45 PM

    herd, I think MLB has hundreds of rounds. I think Mike Piazza was drafted 300 or something. So you can find diamonds in the rough in the later rounds. LOL

  35. yep, all-time records.

  36. I think the head to head all-time DOES mean something because all the intangibles you mentioned above, also were in play for every game in the team's history.  So if they could average a winning record over time, then odds are they could have a winning record over one season.
    I did just throw it in basically to say to all the doubters, hey, we've beat all these guys before (except houston) and when it comes down to it, for most of them, based on history, they're the ones who should be worried.
    I know it's not that cut and dry, but it is one piece to the puzzle.  It takes a lot to win an NFL game, and some of it ties into the history of past games, i.e. weather, stadiums, maybe the Dolphins always eat bad tex-mex before playing Houston, etc.

  37. The Knight who says Ni!June 11, 2009 at 3:57 PM


  38. but these teams are drafting players from college/high school, etc for farm teams, minor league, backyard teams, developmental programs, the mail-room, etc.  Getting drafted by a MLB team doesn't mean you'll necessarily even get a uniform, right?
    I'd ask Berardino but I don't want to encourage him because he's already posted four or five baseball related blogs on the Dolphins site.  And I don't care about baseball.

  39. Well pardon me for BB comment here.  I am on a blog insulting roll.  And I know they have all those teams.  We even have a single A team here.  For the record, I used to LOVE baseball, back in the day.  Before the strike.  Cubs fan. Let see, Cubs and the Herd.  Are you guys SURE you want me as a Dolphins fan?  I don't seem to have a good track record.

  40. The Knight who says Ni!June 11, 2009 at 4:48 PM

    I tend to agree with Tin on this. There is something to the history, the rivals and traveling. Some teams can't seem to beat certain other teams or win in certain buildings no matter how good or bad they are.
    Look at college football, rivalries are everything. i know the NFL is different, but maybe not as much as we think when you break it down and Tin did that for us.

  41. The Knight who says Ni!June 11, 2009 at 4:49 PM

    <span style="color: #404040; line-height: 18px;">I tend to agree with Tin on this. There is something to the history, the rivals and traveling. Some teams can't seem to beat certain other teams or win in certain buildings no matter how good or bad they are. 
    Look at college football, rivalries are everything. I know the NFL is different, but maybe not as much as we think when you break it down and Tin did that for us.</span>

  42. The Knight who says Ni!June 11, 2009 at 4:55 PM

    Exactly right Tin, getting drafted by a MLB team is very different than football where you hope for some kind of immediate production. In baseball these kids disappear in the minors and never get close to the big leagues.
    But if you're a top prospect out of high school, that's a sweet deal. They get million dollar deals to go develop in the minors where they play with pissed off and envious 25-30 year olds who still make $35K and can't get to the bigs. it's a tough game to make it in.

  43. OUR 09 schedule is simular to 08s in that we face FOUR 1st place,FOUR 2nd place,FOUR 3rd place,and FOUR 4th place teams..
    (Though apparently those placing teams on average won TWO more games in 09 than 08),their not all defending 1st place teams,(which WE ARE)!! We have no reason to fear ANYBODY,ANYWHERE,ANYTIME!!
    Funny thing is that in 08"OUR"record vs the lesser teams was worse than vs the quality teams..SO,WE PLAY-UP TO THE COMPETITION!!
    ONE difference is,going into 08 we were THE WORST(team HA)the previous yr that had NO idenity,NO plan,NO depth, NO IDEA of how to play as a team,and NO CLUE of what it takes to win!!
    Other than w'in the division rd games,and SD,we barily cross the Fl border,SO jet-lag/travel-time/frequent flier miles shouldn't be an issue.. 4 of the last 5 are in Fl!!!
    The ONLY reason the FINS faltered after 73 was b/c the World Football League raped us of ALL"OUR"STARS,(CSONKA,KIICK,WARFIELD)to mention a few in 74 !!
    GO  D    O    L    P    H    I    N    S  !!!!

  44. 5 of"OUR"last 8 are in FL!!!

  45. Right on 13 on 2 points. first the Dolphins were wrecked in one offseason by WFL.  If it weren't for that league the Steelers would have made only one SB appearence.  The Steelers were not the team of the 70s.  That still grates on me.
    Also this statement "ONE difference is,going into 08 we were THE WORST(team HA)the previous yr that had NO idenity,NO plan,NO depth, NO IDEA of how to play as a team,and NO CLUE of what it takes to win!! "  Is so true. As last year went along this team grew so much.
    They did 2 things they were unable to do for quite sometime They owned the 4th quarter of most games, and they won in the month of December.  Basically they learned how to win again, and that alone will go along way for this coming year.