NFL Mid-Season Report
November 14, 2018
It sure has been an interesting start to the season for the National Football League.
After ten weeks of action, some teams who were expected to struggle have thrived, and some teams who were thought to be the strongest contenders have started off slow. Some players have shocked us with the excellence of their play, and fans have already began speculated who should win MVP.
The Miami Dolphins started 3-0 and took control of the AFC East, but went 2-5 over their next seven games. The Patriots took back control of the AFC East after they beat the Dolphins.
The Dolphins have not been missing wide receiver Jarvis Landry too much after trading him to the Browns. New receivers Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson have been great additions to the Dolphins passing game. Amendola and Wilson have combined with Dolphins veteran Kenny Stills for 1173 yards, 92 receptions and nine touchdowns. Unfortunately, Wilson went down with a season-ending hip injury during week 7, putting a bit of a strain on the passing game for the Dolphins.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill had a nice start to the season, but has recently struggled. While he started the first 3 games completing 54 out of 74 of his passes (a 73% completion rate) and threw for 687 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions, his performance has been steadily declining. Tannehill has gone 31 for 55 on his passes the past two weeks (a 56% completion rate) and threw 3 interceptions while only throwing one touchdown.
Tannehill has sat out the past few weeks due to a shoulder injury, with back up Brock Osweiler filling in for him. In his five starts this season, Osweiler has thrown 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions to go with 1247 yards and a 63.5 percent pass completion rate.
The Dolphins have a questionable run game this season as well. The Fins currently have the 20th most running yards per game in the NFL with 105.9 yards per game. Running back Kenyan Drake was expected to lead the Fins’ running game this year. But while Drake has the only three running touchdowns so far this year and has chipped in 376 yards, offseason pickup Frank Gore has a very consistent contributor to the Dolphins run game. Gore leads the team with 528 yards and 117 carries, averaging a solid 4.5 yards per carry.
Another inconsistent feature of the Dolphins this year has been the defense. The Fins have the second most interceptions in the NFL with 15 interceptions this season. However, the Fins are also giving up the 7th most yards per game in the NFL (392.3 yards per game) and are in the middle of the league in points given up per game. The Dolphins’ have given up an average of 25.6 points per game, 21st best in the league.
While some fans have begun to lose hope for the Dolphins, other fans think this could be a good year for the Dolphins, and are hoping the Dolphins will make it to the playoffs and get their first playoff victory since 2000.
“The Dolphins are really underrated, and having the Patriots in our division makes people respect us less,” freshman Kevin Morales said.
The good news is that besides the 7-3 Patriots, the competition isn’t too stiff in the AFC East. The Buffalo Bills have the worst scoring offense in the league with 13.7 points per game. As for the New York Jets, they lost both head-to-head matches with the Dolphins this season to add on to their 3-7 record, which has made some fans very happy.
As sophomore Alexis Graesser put it, “We don’t talk about the Jets.”
In regards to the rest of the NFL, there’s only three teams with one loss: the Los Angeles Rams, the Kansas City Chiefs and the New Orleans Saints. All three teams have explosive offenses, topping the league in points per game. The Chiefs are averaging 36.7 points per game, the Saints are averaging 35.3 points per game and the Rams are averaging 33.5 points per game.
Second year quarterback Patrick Mahomes is leading the Chiefs extremely well after the Chiefs traded away quarterback Alex Smith to the Redskins, as Mahomes is leading the league in passing touchdowns with 31 touchdowns. As for the Rams and Saints, both teams have been lead by stellar running backs. Todd Gurley is playing excellent for the Rams, leading the league in rushing yards (988) and rushing touchdowns (13). For the Saints, Alvin Kamara has been a very consistent contributor, scoring twice as many total touchdowns (14) than any other Saints running back or wide receiver.
Over these 10 weeks, it’s been quite an interesting season in the NFL. The only thing that’s certain now is that nothing is certain in regards to what will happen next this season.