AROUND THE LEAGUE

Greg Cote: Current state of Florida’s NFL teams abysmal

 

gcote@MiamiHerald.com

The current state of top-tier football in Florida veers from wonderful on Saturdays to odorous on Sundays.

On the bright side, the Hurricanes and Seminoles are steaming toward a battle of unbeatens on Nov. 2 in Tallahassee. On the other side, our three professional teams carried a surreally abysmal 21-game combined losing streak into NFL Week 8.

You read that right. Twenty-one.

Jacksonville accounts for 12, at a current 0-7 after losing its last five in 2012, with the streak extremely unlikely to end against the 49ers on Sunday in London. (That’s how bad the Jaguars are. They’ve been deported!)

Tampa Bay added the 0-6 record it carried into Thursday night’s game vs. the favored Panthers.

Billboards exhorting the firing of coach Greg Schiano have begun to sprout like weeds around Tampa-St. Petersburg.

Miami contributes the three-game losing streak it hauls as an underdog into New England on Sunday.

The state’s NFL malaise isn’t new. In the three teams’ 19 shared seasons, all three have had a winning record the same year only three times and not since 2005.

All three have made the playoffs the same year only twice, last in 1999.

The state’s combined postseason drought entering this year was 14 seasons, with the Dolphins last in the playoffs in 2008 and the Jaguars and Buccaneers both in ’07.

The good news? Dolfans feeling downtrodden over Miami’s three-game slump need only look north to the Jags and Bucs to feel like champions by comparison.

Scatter-shooting

• Playoff likelihood entering Week 8, via the makenflplayoffs.com’s computers: AFC — Chiefs 91.9 percent, Broncos 78.8, Colts 75.2, Bengals 68.3, Patriots 62.0 and Jets 38.2. (Dolphins stand eighth at 27.8.) NFC — Seahawks 85.3, Saints 83.4, 49ers 67.9, Cowboys 65.7, Packers 57.1 and Lions 45.2.

• Kansas City being the NFL’s last unbeaten team should have the ’72 Dolphins feeling even cockier than usual. Might as well pop the champagne now. The Chiefs’ pedigree remains in doubt, with a so-so offense and opponents thus far with a combined 15-33 record. And KC’s remaining schedule still includes the Broncos and Chargers twice each, plus the Colts.

• Chiefs’ defense is for real, though, holding all seven opponents so far to 17 points or fewer. That’s best such streak since 1977 Falcons did that in first nine games.

• Next year’s game against. the Raiders in London will be the Dolphins’ third regular-season game outside the United States. Others were against the Giants in London in 2007 and the Bills in Toronto in ’08.

• Denver has scored 30-plus points in all seven games. Only the 2000 Rams and ’07 Patriots have done that in the first eight games to start a season.

• Broncos receivers Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker all are on pace for 1,000-yard seasons. Only five teams have had such a triple-1K, most recently Arizona in 2008.

• Former Hurricane Devin Hester of the Bears surpassed Deion Sanders with a 20th career return touchdown last week (including his 92-yard kickoff return in Super Bowl 41 in Miami). Still don’t see that piece of history getting him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

• Pro Bowl fan voting is under way at NFL.com, with teams no longer broken down by AFC or NFC but headed to a televised “draft” captained by Sanders and Jerry Rice. The league keeps adding wrinkles in a thus-far failed effort to make fans care about its poor excuse for an all-star game.

Read more Greg Cote stories from the Miami Herald

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