ESPN computer predicts Dolphins to be maddeningly mediocre

The ESPN Football Power Index foresees Ryan Fitzpatrick leading the Dolphins to some unexpected wins.Steve Mitchell for USA Today
CraigDavis

If there is one bet to make on the Dolphins this season, the smart money would be on them having the worst record in the NFL and earning the No. 1 draft pick they covet to land the quarterback of their choice.

That’s the consensus of Las Vegas and online sports books.

Typical is vegasinsider.com, which has Miami’s Super Bowl odds at 500-to-1. The next longest shots are the Cardinals and Redskins at 300-to-1.

But then there is the mind-boggling computer projection by the ESPN Football Power Index that foresees the Dolphins’ tank job as an abject failure with the team blundering through a typically mediocre 8-8 season.

Opinion: As Dolphins pin hopes on draft picks, expect rough ride for next two years

The immediate reaction is that fortunately that wasn’t the computer model being counted on to forecast Dorian’s turn to the north.

ESPN runs the complete NFL schedule of 267 games through its simulator 20,000 times to come up with game-by-game projections.

Notably, they revealed the outcome of just one of those 20,000 simulations. Which seems rather whimsical.

It is also ludicrous to think there is any basis to foresee how a team that has turned over nearly a fourth of its roster just since its final preseason game will perform.

Nonetheless, the ESPN soothsayer has the Dolphins coming out of the box strong in not only winning the opener over the Ravens 20-14, but the following week giving Brian Flores an emotional 38-28 conquest of the New England Belichicks.

Obviously, the computer is high on FitzMagic.

This hard-to-fathom possibility is worth pondering only because the NFL is the most unpredictable of the major sports leagues.

And to wonder, how would Dolfans react if their team were to start out as an unforeseen overachiever?

Would it be a welcome surprise? Or would having the visions of Tank For Tua plans go suddenly awry be more disconcerting than the prospect of a season of losing?

One other thing to note from the ESPN simulation, the computer has the Houston Texans winning the AFC South with a 10-6 record. Which means those draft picks obtains in the Laremy Tunsil/Kenny Stills trade would be late-rounders, which isn’t at all far-fetched.

Craig Davis has covered South Florida sports and teams, including the Dolphins, for four decades. Follow him on Twitter @CraigDavisRuns

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