After winning five games against teams with a combined 5-24 current record, the Miami Dolphins will face both of last season’s Super Bowl participants in their next three games.
They will begin their step up in competition in prime time Sunday night at Philadelphia against the Eagles, who are smarting after taking their first loss of the season last week against the New York Jets.
After visiting the Eagles (5-1), who lost to Kansas City in Super Bowl LVII, the Dolphins (5-1) will play host to the New England Patriots in Week 8 before facing the defending champion Chiefs on Nov. 5 in Frankfurt, Germany.
The Dolphins could use a test. Last Sunday, they added the winless Carolina Panthers (0-6) to a list of victims that includes the New York Giants (1-5), the Patriots (1-5), the Denver Broncos (1-5) and the Los Angeles Chargers (2-3).
Miami failed miserably in its only previous challenge, losing by four touchdowns to the Buffalo Bills in Week 4.
“I’m looking forward to playing against a real good team, Super Bowl runner-up, and it’s going to be fun,” said wide receiver Tyreek Hill, per the Palm Beach Post. “I think that we definitely need a challenge like that. It’s going to be a really good challenge up front and on the back end because they’ve got All-Pro corners. Obviously, their D-line is really good.”
The Dolphins have not played in Philadelphia since 2015, but they have a good idea of what to expect from the scene at Lincoln Financial Field.
“You hear so much about the Philly fans, the atmosphere, all that good stuff,” Miami defensive tackle Christian Wilkins said. “It’s going to be great football weather, football atmosphere, just all that good stuff kind of building up until Sunday night. I’m looking forward to it.”
Miami took care of business last Sunday with a 42-21 home win against the Panthers. Tua Tagovailoa passed for 262 yards and three touchdowns, Raheem Mostert rushed for 115 yards and two scores and Hill caught six passes for 163 yards and one TD. The defense sacked No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young four times.
Philadelphia was its own worst enemy last Sunday in a 20-14 road loss to the Jets, committing four turnovers, including a career-high-tying three interceptions from Jalen Hurts. The last pick, by Tony Adams, set up New York’s game-winning 8-yard TD run by Breece Hall with 1:46 left in the game.
“I don’t think I made the correct read on it, but it happens,” Hurts said of the game-changing INT. “It’s an opportunity for us to learn from it and grow. …
“And these things and these moments build a ton of character. If you go into it and handle it the right way, you can turn a negative situation into a positive. And that’s what we plan to do.”
Hurts, who has never faced Miami, already has seven interceptions this season after throwing six in 15 starts during last season’s MVP runner-up campaign.
The Eagles signed seven-time Pro Bowl receiver Julio Jones this week. Four Philadelphia players missed practice Wednesday: right tackle Lane Johnson (ankle), wideout DeVonta Smith (hamstring), cornerback Bradley Roby (shoulder) and safety Reed Blankenship (ribs).
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey returned to practice on a limited basis for Miami for the first time since undergoing knee surgery in July. Fellow corner Xavien Howard (groin) did not practice Wednesday, when fullback Alec Ingold (foot) and offensive lineman Connor Williams (groin) also sat out.