After the Miami Dolphins saw their winning streak stopped at five games with their loss against the Denver Broncos, they saw a natural drop in terms of national power rankings.
But it wasn't a very large drop, in part because of the fine work the Dolphins have done to put themselves in the thick of the playoff race, but also maybe in part because their next two opponents (Jets, Bengals) have a combined record of 2-17-1.
In our weekly roundup of seven national power rankings, the Dolphins range from 12th (Sports Illustrated) to 16th (Pro Football Network).
Here's a roundup of the power rankings with the Dolphins' rankings last week in parentheses.
Ranking: No. 12 (12)
Analysis: "Their five-game winning streak was snapped on Sunday, but this is still a very good team. Denver is always a difficult place to play and the Broncos are a particularly tough matchup for Miami — they want to run the ball (the weakness of Miami’s defense), they weren’t going to put Drew Lock in position to get picked on by Brian Flores’s zero blitzes, and the blurry looks Vic Fangio presents can be a nightmare for a young quarterback like Tua Tagovailoa. They were right to bring Ryan Fitzpatrick on in relief — Tua was not going to dig himself out and Fitzpatrick’s over-aggressiveness was the only way they were going to put points on the board — just like they’ll be right to turn back to Tua this week. Things will look sunnier after matchups with the Jets and Joe Burrow-less Bengals the next two weeks."
Ranking: No. 15 (11)
Analysis: "When Tua Tagovailoa took over as starting quarterback at the beginning of this month, the move came with the assumption the Dolphins would ride with their first-round pick through thick and thin. The mandate is less clear after Brian Flores yanked an ineffective Tua in the fourth quarter of a 20-13 loss to the Broncos. After the game, Flores told reporters that Tua has the "full support" of the coaching staff and locker room, but does that mean he'll turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick if his rookie struggles again next week? Or the week after that? It's possible Miami's five-game win streak altered Flores' mindset and leaves the coach caught between developing for tomorrow while trying to win today. That's a tricky tightrope to walk when a first-year quarterback and proven backup are in the mix."
Ranking: No. 15 (13)
Analysis (on what they're thankful for): "A healthy Xavien Howard. Howard has reestablished himself as the NFL's best ball hawk and one of the best cornerbacks in the league. After missing 11 games with a knee injury in 2019, Howard is back and tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions. The Dolphins' defense can be a lot more aggressive and productive with Howard patrolling the passing lanes, and his presence is definitely reason to be thankful."
Ranking: No. 14 (9)
Analysis: "The benching of Tua Tagovailoa made no sense to me. He's either in or he's out — and he should be in for the future. Let him learn from even bad experiences."
Ranking: No. 16 (12)
Analysis: "Tua Tagovailoa had a really rough time in Denver and was benched in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter. Tagovailoa was sacked six times before leaving the game. Fitzpatrick gave the Dolphins a spark but threw an interception in the end zone to end Miami's chances of winning the game and their five-game winning streak. The Dolphins averaged a dreadful 3.7 yards per play in Denver. That said, Miami does have an extremely favorable schedule remaining, and Tagovailoa will start next week."
Ranking: No. 15 (13)
Analysis: "Benching Tua Tagovailoa shouldn’t be that big of a deal. He was struggling badly and getting hit a lot. Brian Flores was more worried about winning a game than protecting the feelings of his rookie quarterback. That’s not a bad thing. Tua will be fine."
Ranking: No. 13 (7)
Analysis: “I expected it to be a lot harder,” rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa said of the NFL after his 3-0 start. As his humble pie digests, Tua prepares for the Jets ... who will likely restore his hubris."