The Miami Dolphins will try to build on their ugly but very welcome victory against the Houston Texans when they return to action Thursday night.
For their prime-time showcase, however, the Dolphins hardly could have been pitted against a worst opponent based on recent history.
You think the Dolphins have had a hard time against the Buffalo Bills lately? That's nothing compared to what they've endured against the Baltimore Ravens.
To say the Ravens have owned the Dolphins recently is no exaggeration.
The domination actually has been historic.
Since John Harbaugh became head coach of the Ravens in 2008 (six Dolphins coaches ago), Baltimore has won eight of nine against Miami. The one exception was a 15-13 Miami victory in 2015.
That's bad enough. But the scores of the last three meetings have been downright embarrassing for Miami: 38-6, 40-0, 59-10.
Combined score: 137-16. Average score (rounded out to the nearest number): 46-5. Point differential: 121.
In the history of the franchise, the Dolphins have never had a three-game losing streak against a single opponent with a margin that lopsided. The closest was a three-game streak against the Kansas City when the Dolphins were outscored 113-3 (minus-110), but that happened all the way back in 1967-68.
The last three losses against Buffalo have been by a combined margin of 79 points.
So this is bad.
Like, real bad.
And those last three whoopings have come under totally different circumstances.
In 2016, the Dolphins were riding a six-game winning streak and on their way to the playoffs when they got smacked by 32 points at Baltimore.
In 2017, the Dolphins were 4-2 but were coming in with backup quarterback Matt Moore after Jay Cutler (signed to replace injured starter Ryan Tannehill) had been injury the previous Sunday. The 40-0 loss started a six-game losing streak that sent the Dolphins to a 6-10 finish.
And then there was, of course, the teams' last meeting in the 2019 opener.
Who could forget that game (not that the Dolphins don't want to)?
To quickly recap, Mark Ingram had a 49-yard run on the first snap of the game, the Ravens scored six touchdowns in the first half and finished with 623 total yards on their way to that 59-10 victory.
"Yeah, that was a tough one," linebacker Jerome Baker said. "That was definitely a tough game. But this team is completely different. I always tell the story of back then, I didn’t even know some of the guys I was lined up with. I didn’t know their names. But this team is a lot different. We’re better coached, we have better players. Thursday is definitely going to be a challenge. We’re definitely going to have some fun Thursday.”
To Baker's point about not knowing some of his teammates, well, that was because the Dolphins were in full rebuilding mode at that time and bringing in new players on a regular basis in whatever method possible. In the seven days before that 2019 season opener, the Dolphins literally added 10 new players to their active roster.
The Dolphins' current roster includes only 14 players who were on the opening-day roster back in 2019.
“Yeah, I think we’ve grown a lot in those three seasons or two-and-a-half seasons, however long it’s been," tight end Mike Gesicki said. "Obviously every year is a new year. I can’t even compare this team to that team, whether it’s good or bad.”
When it comes to the Ravens, though, it's been nothing but bad lately.