The Miami Dolphins finished fourth in a row with their 39-17 win over the Cleveland Browns at Hard Rock Stadium and are now recognized by most national media as the top 5 team in the NFL.
In our weekly survey of 10 national power rankings from national outlets, all but one ranking had the dolphins outside of the top 5 and they were ranked as high as third.
In our ranking of these 10 national outlets – CBS Sports, NFL.com, The Athletic, The Sporting News, The Ringer, USA Today, sports illustratedESPN, Yahoo and Pro Football Talk — The Dolphins averaged a 4.7 rank among the 32 NFL teams, compared to their Week 9 average of 8.1.
Here’s the breakdown of the Dolphins’ 10 power ranking spots, along with accompanying commentary:
Ranking: 4 previous: 6
Analysis: They rank first at the AFC East and continue to put on an offensive show. Tua Tagovailoa is in MVP talks.
Ranking: 4 previous: 12
Analysis: You have to go back to Dan Marino’s salad days to find a dolphin offense that felt so dangerous. Tua Tagovailoa threw for 285 yards and three more touchdowns, and Jeff Wilson Jr. had 119 of the team’s 195 rushing yards as Miami rolled over a Cleveland defense that knocked out Joe Burrow and the Bengals in Week 9. The Dolphins are getting their first-place bye in the AFC East by averaging 35 points and nearly 450 yards per game over the past three weeks. In the meantime, the “MVP!” Chants for Tua at Hard Rock Stadium don’t seem so far-fetched: eight starts, seven wins, 18 touchdown passes, three interceptions, 71 percent completion rate at a staggering 9.1 yards per attempt. Peak Steve Young stuff.
Ranking: 3 previous: 5
Analysis: After their 22-point blowout against the Browns, the Dolphins are now 7-0 in games started and ended by Tua Tagovailoa. They won in a different way on Sunday, leaning on their fast attack against the Browns’ notoriously poor running defense. Jeff Wilson, acquired on deadline, rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown while Raheem Mostert added 65 yards and a touchdown. Miami’s 195 rushing yards was by far the most of the season, while Hill and Jaylen Waddle combined for 110 yards, their second-lowest combined mark behind the Skylar Thompson-led loss to the Jets in Week 5.
Pro football talk
Ranking: 5 previous: 9
Analysis: The offensive is becoming more and more unstoppable. The question is whether it will travel in January. Maybe it doesn’t have to.
Ranking: 4 previous: 7
Analysis: Mike McDaniel was a great attitude. If you were to do it all over again, would McDaniel, Kevin O’Connell or Brian Daboll be your top picks for 2022? All three have cases for Coach of the Year.
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Ranking: 9 previous: 10
Analysis: Tua Tagovailoa leads the league in QB rating. And while QB rating isn’t what we’d traditionally use to rate the entirety of a skill set, what happens when a coaching staff decides a player isn’t restricted is absolutely amazing.
Ranking: 4 previous: 6
Analysis (on temperature who was in the hot seat last season, Noah Igbinoghene, hot but bearable): Igbinoghene put in notable performances against the Vikings and Steelers in Week 6 and Week 7, respectively, and recorded a successful interception against Pittsburgh. He’s totaled 37 snaps in two games since then, which is an uptick from the healthy scratches he recorded earlier in the season. He still has a long way to go to solidify a long-term roster spot and his fifth-year option is likely to be all but rejected at this point. But this coaching staff values his work ethic and demeanor. All hope is not given up yet.
Ranking: 5 previous: 7
Analysis: Tua Tagovailoa has three straight games with three touchdown passes and no picks. The Dolphins have won every game he has started and finished. He leads the league in EPA by dropback and has Miami second in offensive EPA per drive. Tua certainly deserves a lot of credit, both for his good play and for the overall success Miami is having, but head coach Mike McDaniel and the Dolphins’ elite cast of ability players deserve just as much, if not more. The potential for this offense is sky high due to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, and McDaniel butts to the ceiling with creative running plans and Shanahan-level mastery of staff groupings, game action and pre-snap moves. Tagovailoa, McDaniel and the supporting cast are all at the top of their games at the moment; making them a legitimate Super Bowl threat.
The sports news
Ranking: 4 previous: 14
Analysis: The Dolphins got into the races early with their speedy wide receivers and running backs against the Browns, with Tua Tagovailoa playing his best football. They are now in first place in the AFC East.
United States today
Ranking: 5 previous: 5
Analysis: Look who’s suddenly at the helm of the AFC East. Miami is undefeated in competitions started and finished by QB Tua Tagovailoa. The running game is also gaining momentum behind recently won RB Jeff Wilson and fellow former 49er Raheem Mostert — the duo who teamed for 184 yards on Sunday.
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