The preseason is done, the final spots on the 53 are being decided, and I’m sure (or at least hoping) that the front office is searching the waiver wire for some additions (looking at you cornerbacks).
In other words, this is the perfect time for an annual Record Prediction for your 2018 Miami Dolphins.
Twitter gave me some positive feedback on my method, so I believe it best to share it in a proper template. Although rooted in statistical analysis, the method is rather straightforward when applied to football.
First, you divide the 16-game schedule into brackets of 4 games each. You then go through each bracket, and provide a floor (the worst record you estimate) and a ceiling (the best record you estimate) for each 4-game bracket.
Once completed for each 4-game stretch, you then add the floors and the ceilings. This then yields your total floor and ceiling. Statistically, this is a safe method that guards against outliers, while still allowing for some wiggle-room in the final prediction.
First Bracket (Game 1 – Game 4)
I see New York as an automatic win. I know it’s an away and divisional game, and yet…I do not see Tannehill, Gase and Co. leaving Metlife and the Jets' rookie signal caller with a loss. They win Week 2.
This then leaves you, when looking at the floor, with needing a win against either Tennessee or Oakland (no surprise, New England is my auto-loss here). I believe they win Week 1, and I see it being rather easy. The Titans have a new coach, many moving parts, and we all know what happens to teams than come play down in South Florida in September; it’s not good for them.
Second Bracket (Game 5 – Game 8)
I follow a similar pattern to the first bracket, in which I see one automatic win (vs. Chicago), one automatic loss (at Houston) and two games which I see as uncertain; and yes, I know there is nothing certain in the NFL, but this is a predictive piece so just work with me.
As a result, I split the difference between the two uncertain games, and arrive at the floor/ceiling presented above.
Third Bracket (Game 9 – Game 12)
If you’re seeing a pattern here, then it’s because there is definitely a pattern to be seen. The Dolphins season is rather equally split, up to now, on floor/ceiling.
Again, in this bracket, we see a game which is likely an automatic loss (at Green Bay), even though we all should remember how well a certain QB1 played last time he played the daunting Packers. Nonetheless, that was a long time ago, and the defenses are completely changed.
I see two auto wins here, in New York and Buffalo. Let me be clear, I fully expect both of these teams, especially the Bills, to be awful this year. The true variable here is Indianapolis. Will Luck’s arm hold up? Even if it does, will his supporting cast be enough to get them a win? I’m more confident in this ceiling than any other ceiling throughout the year.
Fourth and Last Regular Season Bracket (Game 13 – Game 16)
Well…here is why hitting those early bracket ceilings will be important. Because the last part of the Dolphins schedule is...
There is no way to know how these four teams will look or be playing like in December. But if they are anything like what they are projected to be, then 0-4 is not out of the question here. Now, I know I said the Bills are awful, and I fully expect them to be.
But by Week 17, they would have likely found an identity, and being that Miami simply doesn’t play well in Buffalo, I cannot sincerely pretend that it is an auto win. As for auto losses, Minnesota looks like the most likely, with Jacksonville and New England being close. The saving grace? Miami gets the Patriots and Jaguars at home…and Bortles will still be the Jacksonville QB, likely.
Aside from that…ouch.
When you add up the final totals, you arrive at the following:
Total Floor: 6-10
Total Ceiling: 11-5
My Final Prediction: 10-6 and an AFC Wild Card Position
As always, thank you for your time and read. If you enjoyed it, please retweet and share. It is my true opinion that we need more intellectual diversity in our Dolphins media material and what makes it out to the Dolphins masses! Part of the reason that I love writing with PhinManiacs!
This story was written by Daniel Martinez. Follow him on Twitter: @all_right_Miami
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