Dolphins Vs. Bucs: What’s At Stake?


Oct 31, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake (91) celebrates with defensive tackle Randy Starks (94) defensive tackle Jared Odrick (98) and safety Jimmy Wilson (27) after Wake

Tonight the Miami Dolphins will face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NFL’s last win-less team after Jacksonville’s shocking 29-27  upset over the Tennessee Titans yesterday.  Even though the Bucs have yet to win a game, they are extremely dangerous and they proved that last week after almost knocking off the NFC elite Seattle Seahawks.  Miami will have to play well throughout the entire game to keep the Bucs win-less. However, there is more than the NFL’s last win-less team at stake tonight. Here are my 3 most important reasons why the Miami Dolphins must win tonight against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

1. Sixth (and final) AFC Playoff Spot: Miami got an enormous amount of help this weekend as the Jaguars upset the Titans and the Chargers fell to the Broncos.  San Diego and Tennessee are both 4-5, and if the Dolphins can win tonight, they would have the same record as the New York Jets. The Jets, who boast a better divisional record than the ‘Phins, would own the tiebreaker for the final spot, however Miami would control it’s own destiny against the Jets with two games remaining against the Gangreen.  While it is still early, this win would push the Dolphins one step closer to the playoffs and they would capitalize off of huge losses by TEN and SD.

2. Suppress the media: Ever since Jonathan Martin left this team, there has a been terrible publicity surrounding this organization and has created numerous distractions.  If Miami can win tonight’s game, it would give the media something else to focus on (if only for a little while) and would prove that the Dolphins can overcome adversity and win even with speculation and distraction surrounding the team.  A win would temporarily quiet the media hurricane that has devastated South Beach.

3. Build confidence:  In my opinion, what this team needs most right now is some confidence or swag.  While last week’s Halloween win over the Bengals was huge, I think a convincing win tonight, among all that has happened in the past 10 days, would really do wonders for the Dolphins’ confidence.  On the flip side, if Miami loses to the win-less Bucs, it could greatly worsen the already volatile mood surrounding the organization.  To me, the tone and fate of the rest of this season rest on tonight’s game.

Regardless of the outcome, I am just ready to see Miami take the field again!  For the past ten days it has been nothing but the Incognito-Martin case, and while I understand the importance of the situation, it will be a breathe of fresh air to see our team take the field tonight and actually play some football on the NFL’s biggest stage.