That raises an important question: Which of those things will change first?
The Patriots are ... well, they’re the Patriots. They’re the team everyone just assumes will be in the Super Bowl each season, and they’re usually correct. Bill Belichick is a real-life super-villain. Maybe there’s something to that whole avoiding strawberries thing because Tom Brady is ageless. And the Patriots’ defense leads the league with 19 interceptions. Honestly, it’s not even fair.
The Dolphins, on the other hand, are just a mess. They rank dead last in the league with just 11 points per game. The dynamic duo of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen have thrown a total of six — SIX — touchdowns and 12 — TWELVE — interceptions over seven games. The Dolphins have traded away five starters — Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills to the Texans, Kiko Alonso to the Saints, Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers, and Kenyan Drake to the Cardinals. Miami is embracing the tank, and it shows in that empty win column.
NFL fans participating in our weekly FanPulse survey think it’s more likely that the Patriots will lose a game before the Dolphins win a game. It’s hard to see any path toward a win for Miami, a team that has been outscored 237-77 this season.
Maybe it’s all the draft capital that the Dolphins acquired in trades this season, but Dolphins fans seem pretty unfazed by the team’s performance. A whopping 54 percent of Dolphins fans who responded to our Week 9 FanPulse survey said they’re confident in the direction of the team.
That’s much better than the other remaining winless team, the Bengals. Only 9 percent of Bengals fans said they’re confident in the direction of the team right now, but they may be more confident next week after the Bengals opted to bench starting quarterback Andy Dalton on his actual birthday.
When your team wins the Lombardi Trophy, or is in a position to win one, pretty much on an annual basis, that breeds confidence. So it seems about right that 90 percent of Patriots fans feel confident in the direction of the franchise right now.
There’s just one other unbeaten team standing in the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers, and 99 percent of Niners fans said they’re confident in the direction of the team. It’s hard to argue with San Francisco’s results.
Of course, the Patriots’ consistent success may be less automatic once Brady does decide to call it a career. Pats Pulpit, SB Nation’s team brand covering the Patriots, polled fans this week about where they think Brady will be next year. Brady has said he hopes to play into his mid-40s, and most fans think he’ll still be behind center for the Pats next season.
Only 15 percent of respondents said Brady will be retired in 2020. One percent expects Brady to be playing for a different NFL team ... which is impossible to imagine.
If you’d like to participate in our weekly FanPulse survey, you can sign up here. Just select your favorite team, look for our emails on Mondays, and let your voice be heard!