The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins have a rivalry that is not well-known around the country, but football fans on the East Coast consider it one of the best. Both the Patriots and Dolphins have spent time as the top franchise in the National Football League, and they are the only two teams since the AFL-NFL merger to post an undefeated season.
This rivalry hasn’t seen many competitive seasons between the two teams, but the all-time series standings are extremely close. Miami was clearly the better team for the first few decades of this AFC East rivalry, but New England has flipped the script in a big way in recent seasons. While the Patriots have routinely dominated the rest of the teams in the AFC East, the Dolphins have been the one team that has been a thorn in their side. Odds are that the Dolphins will eventually take back control of this rivalry and end the reign of the mighty New England Patriots.
History of Patriots vs. Dolphins
The New England Patriots won their first two meetings against the Miami Dolphins in 1966 and 1967, but then they struggled in this rivalry. Miami won 17 of the first 27 games against their new AFC East rival, and they were the class of the division during those first two decades. New England finally won the decade in the 1980s, coming away with 11 wins in the 21 head to head matchups.
Since the 2010 season, New England has absolutely dominated this rivalry—and the rest of the NFL for that matter. Miami holds a slim 55-52 lead over the Patriots in the all-time series standings. The Miami Dolphins were able to capture the AFC East Division title in 2008, which is the only time the Patriots haven’t won it since 2003.
The Dolphins and Patriots have also had some legendary games featured on primetime, and Miami has been known to pull off a few upsets in this rivalry. This rivalry isn’t usually one of the top picks for the best rivalry in the NFL, but it is certainly up there.
The Boston Patriots came into the American Football League in 1960 and transitioned to the NFL in 1970. The team name was officially changed to the New England Patriots in 1971, and that is what they are known as today. New England got off to a very slow start as a franchise, but they have grown into one of the most successful franchises in professional sports history.
The Patriots have won 500 regular season games and have won six Super Bowls since the 2001 season. Head coach Bill Belichick will go down as one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, and quarterback Tom Brady might be the greatest of all time. The Patriots might have gotten off to a slow start, but they are a household name today.
The Miami Dolphins began play in the AFL during the 1966 season and found immediate success upon joining the NFL in 1970. The Miami Dolphins are best known for their 1972 team, which posted a completely undefeated season.
Miami was able to back up their undefeated season with another Super Bowl championship the next season. Despite having a ton of Hall of Fame players since that time, the Dolphins haven’t won a Super Bowl Championship since that 1972 season. Things have been rough for the Dolphins in recent seasons, but this is a proud NFL franchise that will get back on track before long.
Head to Head Analysis of Patriots vs. Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins might have a slim lead in the all-time series standings, but that hasn’t been the case in the last 20 games. Taking a look at the last 20 games between these AFC East rivals takes us all the way back to November 8, 2009, and it has been a rough stretch for the Miami Dolphins. New England has posted a 14-6 record against Miami in the last 20 games, and they have also been much better than the Dolphins in terms of playoff standings.
If the game was played in New Englands, then the Patriots were clearly the pick. The Patriots went a perfect 10-0 against the Dolphins at home in Foxboro, but the Dolphins did have some luck at home. The Dolphins won six of the ten games played in Miami during this stretch, even when the Patriots were the clear prediction to win the game. There are certainly other things to look at besides just head-to-head results, but the New England Patriots were the best moneyline pick in the last 20 games.
Point spreads play a huge role in betting on the NFL, but they can also help us make some predictions for the upcoming games in this rivalry. Looking at the odds or betting lines for total number of points in each game in this series is another way to help us take a close look at the last 20 games between the Patriots and Dolphin. The New England Patriots were the betting favorites in 18 of the last 20 games against the Dolphins, but they didn’t exactly dominate when attempting to cover the spread.
New England went 10-8 against the spread in games that they were the favorites, meaning there were plenty of occasions that the Dolphins were the right pick. The Patriots and Dolphins split the two games in which Miami was the betting favorite, making it hard to draw any conclusions from the last 20 games. The results of the “total” bets in the last 20 games have been inconclusive as well. New England and Miami have combined to go “over” and “under” the line for the point total exactly ten times apiece in the last 20 games. The Patriots might have dominance over the Dolphins in terms of final score, but there are times when the Dolphins have been the right prediction to make.
A Glance at Postseason Success in Patriots vs. Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins found success much earlier than the New England Patriots did, but their success wasn’t nearly as great. Miami had a pair of Super Bowl Championships in 1972 and 1973, but New England has countered by winning six Super Bowls since 2001.
The Patriots also hold a huge lead in conference championships with 11, while the Dolphins have won the AFC just five times. Miami has won the AFC East Division 13 times, while New England has won it 19 times, including ten straight from 2009-2018. It would have been hard to imagine that these results would look like this after the first two decades of this rivalry, but the Patriots have become the class of the AFC and the National Football League.
The Patriots have clearly dominated this rivalry in the last two decades, but the Miami Dolphins remain a strong contender to topple New England. There is a lot of history wrapped up in this rivalry, so keep a look out for the Dolphins’ resurgence in future seasons! Given that Tom Brady may be hanging up his helmet in the next couple of years, the Dolphins will have a real shot at taking back the reins in this rivalry.