Miami Dolphins & Baltimore Ravens Prep For Playoff Type Game
By Brian Miller
It’s December and that means it’s officially time to start talking playoffs. Every game essentially is a playoff game for teams trying to gain entry with a Wild Card spot. Two of those teams face off on Sunday when the Baltimore Ravens visit South Florida and Sun Life Stadium. It’s an early pre-post-season playoff game for both the Ravens and the Miami Dolphins. It should be for the fans as well.
The loser of this game is all but mathematically eliminated. Consider that as of today, six teams are tied at 7-5 and the Dolphins hold the 6th seed simply because of tie-breaking rules that do not end with head to head tie breaking. Baltimore is one of those teams. In front of Miami and Baltimore are Cincinnati at 8-3-1 and San Diego at 8-4. Indianapolis is 8-4 as well but look to be a division winner.
Cincinnati isn’t all that important to Miami right now but the Dolphins could really be helped by the Bengals staying atop their division. While Baltimore is still trying to chase down the Bengals the Dolphins are trying to chase down the Patriots for their division. San Diego dropping into a tie would help Miami as the Dolphins own the head to head with the Chargers and they still have one more game left against division rival Kansas City.
This weekends game however is the true focus. Baltimore is similar to Miami in many ways including the quality of wins they have had. The Ravens have split with the Steelers, beaten Atlanta, Carolina, and the Browns along with the Titans and Saints. After the Dolphins their schedule gets a little easier with the Jaguars, Texans, and Browns to finish out the season. A loss by Baltimore won’t hurt as much as a loss by the Dolphins.
Miami understands the goal here and the close shave they took in New York should serve as a reminder as to what is hanging in the balance this weekend. The Dolphins can not afford to play flat against a good football team in a game that matters as if it were a playoff game. The Ravens are feeling the same pressure.
Miami will benefit from a very loud crowd and the more Dolphins fans that show up the better. The Dolphins have steadily been improving in actual attendance this season and there is no reason to believe this game won’t bring out even the fickle fan who holds season tickets. The Dolphins are 3-2 at home this year with wins against the Patriots, Bills, and Chargers having lost to the Chiefs and Packers. This Sunday’s game will be first of three home games to wrap the 2014 season but if the cards fall in the right places, the Dolphins could position themselves to challenge for a home playoff game.
Of course, they have one this weekend against the Ravens.