The Miami Dolphins will face the New England Patriots in a matter of hours. This is the first tilt for Miami vs this particular AFC East foe this season. The Dolphins have a legitimate opportunity to qualify for the 2012 playoffs, but having the Patriots (twice) still remaining on the schedule paints a historically scary picture.
The ‘Phins have had issues in the division. This is a very top-heavy division with New England winning the title annually since the AFC East went to four teams in 2002 (the Indianapolis Colts were the 5th team in the division, but the addition to the NFL of the Houston Texans meant changes to the divisions). In that first 2002 season the New York Jets won the division. Miami took the division in 2008. All eight other seasons have belonged to the Pats (looking good for a ninth this year)
Since the change in ’02 Miami has made the playoffs just the one time they won the division (never as a wild-card qualifier).
Miami has a losing record vs all 3 division rivals since the ’02 realignment. The Dolphins are 10-12 vs the J-E-T-S JetsJetsJets. They play the Buffalo Bills in week 16 and a win in that game would put Miami at 10-12 vs them too. Juuust under .500 vs both, to climb the ladder you need to go 4-2ish in the division annually.
The games vs the Pats have been a nightmare for the most part. These two have played 20 times since 2002 and Miami has won just six of those games. Yikes. But that is not uncommon in this division as the Pats have been dominant.
Since the realignment Miami is 25-38 vs the division. The Jets are slightly better at 31-34, and the Bills are slightly worse at 21-43. That puts Miami averaging around 2 or 3 wins annually in the 6 game division schedule. The Jets average a 3-3 record in the division, while the Bills average 2-4.
The Patriots are the clear top dawg. They are a whopping 51-13 vs the AFC East since ’02 which is an average of 5-1 annually. Wow.
‘Phins phans are hoping that the new QB Ryan Tannehill can start his career vs the Pats on a great note and hopefully begin to swing the division in their favour. Not for 2012, but some hope going forward would be wonderful for Dolfans.