Projection models give Dolphins 60% or better postseason likelihood

By Kyle Crabbs

The Miami Dolphins are hoping that the 2021 NFL season brings them plenty of success. But success as a team will be defined by one variable at the end of it all: whether or not the team has a ticket to the big dance and a trip to the postseason.

Miami came painfully close to achieving that goal in 2020, winning 10 games and being the first team in the Wild Card era in the AFC to finish the year as the conference’s No. 8 team in the standings with 10 wins. Because of course they did.

The 2021 season aims to give Miami the chance they missed in 2020 — and the team is better aligned to take advantage of it anyway as things currently stand. So who knows; perhaps it is for the best.

What we do know is that on the heels of a Week 1 victory over the New England Patriots, there are no shortage of outlets and projection models that like Miami’s chances. Numerous models forecast the Dolphins at higher than 60% likelihood to make the postseason this year.

ESPN’s Football Power Index currently tabs the Dolphins with a 10-7 record projection; the seventh bet average win total of any team in the league. And their playoff likelihood checks in at 68%; that’s the 6th best odds of any team in the league and second in the AFC behind only Kansas City.

Football Outsiders’ 2021 NFL Playoff Odds Report scores Miami similarly. The team averages 10.1 wins per projection and has a 67.3% likelihood of making the postseason according to the projections conducted within Football Outsider’s own modeling.

FiveThirtyEight NFL Predictions isn’t quite as generous as ESPN or Football Outsiders. But it still has the Dolphins scoring with a 63% likelihood to make the postseason and nearly equal odds for both postseason play and the AFC East as the Buffalo Bills.

The fascinating layer here will be what the odds look like after Week 2; when Miami clashes with those same Bills in a critical AFC East clash. Should Miami find a way to exercise their demons against the Bills, Miami could find themselves with even more lofty projection totals at this time next week.


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