The New York Jets at halftime are losing by 20 to the Buffalo Bills. How huge is that exactly? For starters the Jets hold the sixth seed in the AFC right now. One game ahead of Miami and a slew of others including San Diego. Secondly, it’s a division game and a loss to the Bills helps Miami climb the division latter with a win that would put them tied with New York if in fact that score holds up. The NFL Playoffs don’t start today but a loss for the Dolphins could very well end it.
The Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, and San Diego Chargers are all tied at 4-5. The Dolphins are the only team playing a head to head battle with one of those teams (San Diego too of course). The Ravens are winning and hold a head to head only tie-breaker with Miami while the Dolphins hold a head to head only tie-breaker with Cleveland. A loss by Miami and the door swings closed for the playoffs.
While the team will not “mathematically” be eliminated, a loss by the Phins and a comeback win for the Jets would almost assuredly put a nail in any post-season plans. The Dolphins have lost five of their last six games and while those games have been very close there is no excuses anymore. This team must find a way to not only fend off the adversity but close out a game.
With Mike Pouncey inactive for today’s game the Dolphins will turn to Nate Garner at center and practice squad lineman Sam Brenner to fill in at guard. The Dolphins have lost their starting LT, RG, C, and have replaced their RT with the guy they benched for poor play. John Jerry helps take tickets on the right side turnstile with Tyson Clabo…unfortunately many defenders simply jump the turnstile.
The Chargers have a poor defensive secondary but they don’t have to be strong against a Miami team who has yielded almost 40 sacks on the season. The only consistency on offense this season has been the time that Ryan Tannehill has to throw the ball. Between 1.3 and 2.5 seconds. With a makeshift line look for San Diego to turn up the pressure. Miami must get Tannehill into space and that means rolling him out. Otherwise their offensive production will likely sag and the defense will wilt under the Florida sunshine against a team that has been on fire offensively through most of the season.
The winner of this game will take a big step towards making the post season should the Jets lose. The loser will fight for draft seeding and the spoiler role while they count on their fingers and toes to see what they can still do to punch the card at the end of week 17.