HomeFootball DirtDolphins' Defeat by Titans Exposes Their Pretender Status

Dolphins’ Defeat by Titans Exposes Their Pretender Status

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The Miami Dolphins had the opportunity to surpass the Baltimore Ravens for the No. 1 seed in the AFC on Monday night. Instead, they experienced their most devastating loss of the season, highlighting the doubters who have been skeptical of their abilities all year.

It’s not just that they lost to the now 5-8 Tennessee Titans and rookie quarterback Will Levis at home, it’s how they lost. After struggling for three quarters, the Dolphins finally took control in the fourth quarter, gaining a two-touchdown lead and a win probability of over 99 percent with three minutes remaining. And then they let it slip away.

Adding to the disappointment, the Dolphins were favored by 14 points, with a majority of bets placed on them to cover. This unique defeat solidified the doubts surrounding Miami, as Tennessee became the first team since at least 2000 to overcome a 14-point deficit in the final three minutes of a game and win in regulation, according to The Athletic’s Jason Starrett.

According to BetMGM’s John Ewing, 70 percent of bets on the spread and 66% of money favored Miami. Only 37 percent of the moneyline handle was on the Titans, even at +600 odds.

Just as confidence in the Dolphins was building, they faltered— not that beating Tennessee would have been a significant feat. However, if they are unable to win against challenging opponents, they need to take care of the easier games on their schedule, which they had been doing until now. The Dolphins are 9-4 and second in the AFC, despite not securing a victory against a team with a winning record until Monday.

These shortcomings are more forgivable when the Dolphins are dominating teams by 20 points. Monday’s performance is a reminder of the existing flaws, especially when Tyreek Hill is absent, as he was for a significant portion of the game.

Yet, despite the current doubts, the same can be said for almost every other AFC team, except perhaps the Baltimore Ravens. This is why the Dolphins still have the third-best AFC title odds (+325) at BetMGM and remain the third-highest AFC team in FTW’s latest power rankings.

Despite the struggles of the Kansas City Chiefs, they still hold the third position in the AFC. Following them, the Jaguars, Browns, Steelers, and Colts complete the current playoff picture. Is there really a reason to feel more optimistic about any of them than Miami? It seems unlikely.

With four weeks remaining and three games against teams currently over .500, including the Ravens, it’s premature to discount the Dolphins’ potential to make an impact in the playoffs. Because someone has to.

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