Dolphins are 16-point underdogs to Patriots; how did they get here?

Playing at New England, the Dolphins are the biggest underdog of the weekend. A look at the series of injuries and incidents that led to that spread. Steve Flynn/USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't long ago when two-time Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry was extremely bullish on the Miami Dolphins.

Last April, during a promotional trip to London, Landry boldly predicted Miami would sweep the New England Patriots this season.

Those were times of immense optimism in Miami. The Dolphins were a 10-win team coming off a playoff appearance in 2016. It appeared Miami was on the upswing and moving steps closer to challenging New England in the AFC East.

Fast-forward to this week and the Dolphins (4-6) are an astounding 16-point underdog heading into their first meeting of the season against the reigning Super Bowl champion Patriots (8-2).

Miami hasn't won at Gillette Stadium since the "Wildcat game" in 2008. Vegas oddsmakers expect that decade-long stretch to continue Sunday, as the Dolphins are the NFL's biggest underdogs in Week 12. The visiting Chicago Bears are next at +13.5 points against the Philadelphia Eagles.

So what happened to the Dolphins between Landry's spring optimism and Sunday's game? How did Miami get to this point where virtually no one gives them a chance to beat New England?

Here's a look:

Tannehill down: All the good vibes entering training camp disappeared fast when starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice. This was the start of many bad incidents for Miami that just piled up. The Dolphins tried to replace Tannehill with the $10 million signing of Jay Cutler, but the mercurial quarterback hasn't been worth the investment. Cutler has been up and down, suffered broken ribs and is currently in concussion protocol. You wonder how much of a difference a healthy Tannehill could've made in his second year in coach Adam Gase's offense.

Hurricane Irma: Miami's bad fortune continued when a Category 5 hurricane cancelled its Week 1 game and displaced the team to Los Angeles for nine days. Many Dolphins had to deal with real-life issues concerning the safety of their families during this natural disaster that swept through the state of Florida. The Dolphins also lost their bye week in the process and are forced to play 16 straight games.

Chris Foerster resigns: In what is perhaps the most bizarre NFL story this season, former Dolphins offensive line coach Chris Foerster left the team after a video surfaced on social media of the coach snorting a powdery white substance. It was an embarrassing incident for the Dolphins, who said they were unaware this was going on with one of their assistants. The incident also hit the Dolphins' players and coaches hard, as Foerster was a popular and well-liked coach on the team. Miami's offensive line hasn't played well all season.

Bad offense: Miami was the NFL's worst offense in total yards and points scored through Week 8. This group started very slow and scored six points or fewer in three of its first seven games. The Dolphins couldn't hit big plays and their execution was wildly inconsistent. Miami's defense was the primary reason the team got off to a 4-2 start.

Ajayi trade: The Dolphins traded Pro Bowl running back Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fourth-round pick at the October trade deadline. There were some personality clashes and this move was made with 2018 in mind. But Miami was 4-3 at the time and hasn't won a game since. Ajayi is doing well and already making an impact with the first-place Eagles (9-1), who are expected to challenge for a Super Bowl.

Maualuga arrested: The Dolphins, staying true to their unpredictability this season, had to cut their starting middle linebacker 24 hours before last week's game. Rey Maualuga was reportedly arrested for assault at a Miami nightclub at 8:30 a.m. The Dolphins decided not to wait until the legal process played out and immediately cut ties with Maualuga. They went with backup linebacker Chase Allen to fill in.

Loss to the lowly Bucs: Last week was the start of Miami not getting much respect with Vegas lines. Despite the struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers playing without starting quarterback Jameis Winston, Miami entered Sunday's game strangely as a home underdog. It was clear Vegas gave up on the Dolphins at that point. The line moved even further in favor of Tampa Bay after Maualuga's arrest the day before the game, and Tampa Bay prevailed 30-20. If the Dolphins were home underdogs to Tampa Bay, you knew a big line was coming on the road against the Patriots. Sixteen points is a lot but not surprising considering all that's transpired. Not much is expected from Miami the rest of this season. According to ESPN's Football Power Index, the Dolphins have just a 2 percent chance of making the playoffs. Miami would have to get extremely hot and go 5-1 down the stretch to reach nine wins, which doesn't seem feasible at this point, especially in the midst of a four-game losing streak.

All this leads into Sunday's game, which most experts predict will be a blowout loss to New England.