Fresh off of Miami’s largest win of the season — and only the team’s second win by more than 7 points — it might seem like an odd time to question the Dolphins. But Miami is now 9-5 and has now only outscored opponents by 1 point. That’s right: it took a 21-point win over the Jets to finally put Miami’s points differential in the black. Miami lost by 32 to Baltimore, which obviously stands out as a big outlier, but the team also lost by 15 to Cincinnati and 13 to Tennessee. And while it doesn’t impact the team’s points differential by much, another loss came by 7 to New England despite a Game Script of -15.6.
A few weeks ago, I asked if the Texans were the worst 6-3 team ever. We may be getting to that point now regarding the 9-5 Dolphins. According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, Miami has also faced the second easiest schedule in the league this year, behind only the Patriots. Miami gets to face the bad NFC West, the mediocre NFC North, and has had two games against the Jets already. Five of Miami’s nine wins came against the Jets, Browns, 49ers, and Rams, and three more came against below .500 teams. As a result, combine a weak SOS and an average MOV, and the Dolphins have a negative Simple Rating System grade.
The graph below shows each team’s winning percentage on the X-Axis, and SRS on the Y-Axis. The farther south of the trend line, the more a team is “overachieving” in record relative to SRS (think Miami, Detroit, and the Giants), and the farther north of the trend line, the more a team is “underachieving” in record relative to SRS (think Philadelphia, San Diego, Atlanta).
Here is that information in table form. You can project each team’s record using its SRS by using the following formula:
Expected Winning Percentage = 0.50 + 0.034*SRS
Using that metric, Miami (SRS of -2.2), would be expected to have a winning percentage of 0.425, rather than the 0.643 winning percentage the team actually has. That differential of +0.218 is the largest in the NFL right now, far ahead of Houston (since I wrote that Texans article, Houston is 1-3, with all four games being decided by 8 or fewer points).
|Team||Record||Win %||SRS||Exp Win%||Diff|
|San Diego Chargers||5-8||0.385||1.4||0.548||-0.163|
|New Orleans Saints||5-8||0.385||0.6||0.520||-0.135|
|Green Bay Packers||7-6||0.538||2.5||0.585||-0.047|
|San Francisco 49ers||1-12||0.077||-11.8||0.098||-0.021|
|Los Angeles Rams||4-10||0.286||-9.1||0.190||0.096|
|New York Jets||4-10||0.286||-9.4||0.180||0.106|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||8-5||0.615||0||0.500||0.115|
|Kansas City Chiefs||10-3||0.769||4.3||0.647||0.122|
|New England Patriots||11-2||0.846||6.3||0.715||0.131|
|New York Giants||9-4||0.692||1.4||0.548||0.144|
One interesting note: as much of an extreme outlier as the 9-5 Dolphins may be, the 5-8 Eagles are just as big of an outlier in the other direction. Philadelphia has outscored teams by 18 points, despite facing the 2nd toughest schedule in the league and despite four straight ugly losses. Through week 10, the Eagles had a points differential of +65 but were just 5-4, and all five Philadelphia wins have come by more than one score.
So which team is the biggest outlier this season: Miami, Philadelphia, or a third team?