With Miami’s 23-20 loss against Indianapolis last Sunday, the Dolphins currently place 8th in the AFC playoff race and are on the outside looking in with the San Diego Chargers at 4-4. While many Dolphins fans are quick to jump off the playoff boat and give up on the Dolphins’ shot at the postseason this year, Miami is still very much in the thick of things and is in much better shape than other teams.
One of the benefits of Miami’s current position is their remaining schedule. While the Colts game was very winnable and was a conference game, the Fins schedule actually eases up even more over the next few weeks. Next Sunday the Dolphins are back in Miami to take on a Tennessee Titans team that was just embarrassed in their own stadium in a 51-20 massacre to the Chicago Bears. Then, with a short week, the Dolphins will travel to Buffalo to take on the a struggling Buffalo Bills defense (ranked 24th against the pass and 31st against the run) in Week 11′s Thursday Night Football game. Then the Fins fly back home to take on a scrappy Seattle Seahawks team in a game that I think will decide both teams’ playoff fate.
All three of those games are very winnable for the Fins, and besides the game against Seattle, the Fins should be heavy favorites. These three games are must win games for the Dolphins, who will desperately need a 7-4 record and some momentum going into games against San Francisco and New England. The Dolphins will need to come away with at least one win from those three tough games (1 against SF, 2 against Pats), but the Dolphins are talented enough to win all three.
The next three games will be vital for this Dolphins team, not only because the Dolphins have little room for error, but because they need to build steam going into the toughest part of their schedule. In reality, last Sunday’s loss against the Colts did end Miami’s three game winning streak and marked a loss against a conference rival and potential playoff competitor. However, there is no need to give up on the Fins postseason dreams yet. I trust that Coach Joe Philbin will get this young team refocused and ready to go next Sunday and begin their push at a playoff run. Miami has the schedule, conference record (Miami’s is 3-3, Pittsburgh’s is 2-3 and Indy’s is 3-2), and talent needed to find themselves still playing come January.
Most people would never have picked Miami to be 4-4 through nine weeks, let alone have a shot at a playoff berth. As Dolfans, we must not only be pleased with the team’s overall play thus far, but we must hang in there and never give up until the last whistle blows in week 17. The truth is, anything can happen in late December. Most importantly, keep your FINS UP!