The Miami Dolphins are still banged up and they will need to figure out how to get their role players to step and become playmakers. This weeks game against the Oakland Raiders is for all intent and purpose a playoff game and the Dolphins should be channeling that edict every time the game is mentioned. Instead they will likely give the media the typical “We approach every game as if it were a playoff game. The first one to the last one“. This time, it’s for real.
The Dolphins are 4 games back in the AFC East that has basically become a New England Vs. New York love fest for the for media. A loss this weekend would all but mathematically eliminate the Phins from division contention. They would officially be 4 games back with five left to play, although three games back with five to go isn’t all that encouraging either. It’s not much better in the Wild Card picture either when the two main teams in front of them are the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Patriots.
Roll over to page two for more and a “who will win poll“.
As it sits right now, the Patriots hold the first Wild Card Slot leaving the aforementioned Steelers at 7-3, the Colts at 6-4, and Oakland, Miami, and San Diego at 5-5. Not pretty. The mathematics will get a lot more tricky after this weekend. A loss by the Phins will put Oakland obviously one more game up on the Dolphins and they will become after thoughts if Pitt, Indy, and SD all win. The other divisions are so tight right now that Baltimore and Jacksonville have the same record as the Steelers and Colts and the Chiefs over in the West have a one game lead on Oakland and SD.
For the Dolphins this weekend Brandon Marshall will be sitting out. A terrible week to re-injure his hamstring as Marshall is very familiar with the Oakland defense facing them previously twice each season from his time with Denver. In his place, the Dolphins will start Brian Hartline as the number 1 wide-out. Hartline has been the most productive WR on the Dolphins roster over the last month. The slot will still be manned by Davone Bess but the outside number 2 spot is still a question. Marlon Moore should be the starter.
Chad Henne has been cleared for the game and while Tony Sparano isn’t declaring who will stand behind center, indications are that they will lean on Henne and his ailing knee more than Thigpen and his legs. The Dolphins were unable to do anything against Chicago.
Jake Long will start and has stated that his shoulder is better. That will not stop Dolphins fans from holding their breath every time he slowly gets up off the turf.
The Raiders are a very good running team, ranked behind the Chiefs at second in the league, they are also one of the worst teams defending the run. Ronnie Brown needs to be a big part of the game plan.
So what do you think? Will the Phins win this weekend?