DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins are 0-4 against AFC East opponents -- and most of the games haven’t been close.
Miami is getting embarrassed in division contests this season. The team has lost all four AFC East games by an average of 21.25 points.
It’s never a good sign when you’re getting pummeled by the opponents that know you best. Miami already has been swept by the Buffalo Bills in two games, lost 36-7 to the undefeated New England Patriots and suffered a 13-point defeat to the New York Jets in London.
Miami (4-6) will face the Jets (5-5) again Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Their previous meeting in Week 4 marked the end for former Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin, who was fired promptly after returning from London. Interim head coach Dam Campbell has taken over and gone 3-3 in place of Philbin.
Campbell has his theory of why Miami has struggled mightily within the division.
“I think that all of these teams in our division have a pretty good defensive line,” Campbell said. “And I think a lot of these teams they’ve got a big front -- big, long guys. ... So I just think that they make life a little bit harder to try to run inside for us. We’re not the biggest line up front.”
Indeed, Miami’s offense line usually struggles against the Bills, Jets and Patriots. Often the Dolphins cannot establish a running game because they’ve fallen behind so quickly in division games.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill also has been sacked 12 times this season in four division games. Injuries to starting left tackle Branden Albert (hamstring) and starting right tackle Ja'Wuan James (toe) certainly haven’t helped matters. James is expected to miss Sunday’s game, as well.
It is extremely difficult to make the playoffs when a team cannot win in the division. Miami is 4-2 against non-AFC East teams but owns a 4-6 record overall. The team must first learn how to better compete with the Jets, Bills and Patriots before thinking about the bigger picture.