The Dolphins remain confident in their revamped roster and have not said anything publicly or privately indicating they believe they are in a rebuilding year or tanking for a high draft pick.
The rest of the world seems unconvinced.
After cutting loose several key starters in the offseason and stitching together their roster on a tight budget, the Dolphins will surprise a lot of people if they make a playoff run this season.
That includes ESPN, which placed them No. 30 in the NFL in its latest power rankings. Those rankings are determined by a voting panel of more than 80 people who cover pro football for the network. The only teams behind Miami are the Browns and Colts.
The Dolphins went 10-6 in coach Adam Gase’s first year, then lost in the playoffs to Pittsburgh. They went 6-10 last season, losing five straight in the middle of the year and folding down the stretch despite still being alive for the postseason with two weeks remaining.
The Giants and Jets, teams that went a combined 8-24 last year, are a few spots ahead of the Dolphins. The Texans are projected to make the biggest jump after going 4-12 last year and rank No. 17.
Making matters tougher for the Dolphins, they have five games against the top nine teams in the power rankings: 2. New England (twice), 5. Minnesota, 7. Jacksonville, 9. Green Bay.
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