It’s late December and the Miami Dolphins are relevant.
For the first time in years, the Miami Dolphins are playing a late December game that actually has meaning but will they rise to the challenge and win?
The Miami Dolphins have made the playoffs only two times since 2002. One came on the legs of Ronnie Brown and the Wild Cat offense and the other was a surprise entry in 2016 when Adam Gase took the Dolphins to the playoffs with a 10-6 record. The Dolphins have not had an 11 win season since 2008, they could finish 2020 with 11 wins.
Since the 2016 season, the Dolphins have not been a contender late in the year. They have finished 6-10, 7-9, and 5-11. Between 2008 and 2016 the Dolphins’ best finish was 8-8, twice, with three seasons of seven wins and two seasons of six. Needless to say, the role of spoiler is the only thing that Miami had to look forward to.
That is not the case in 2020. The Miami Dolphins are competing for a playoff spot and improved seeding. First, though, they need to take care of the Raiders.
On Friday, the Dolphins flew to Las Vegas in the evening. They will play tonight and head back home after the game. If all goes well, Miami will be looking at a third post-season birth with a win next week in Buffalo.
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The Raiders have six wins on the year but we have seen Miami play poorly against lesser teams. Specifically the Broncos. This can’t be that kind of game. The Dolphins are better on defense and they should be better offensively as well. While this game shouldn’t be a blowout win for the Dolphins, there shouldn’t be a lot of drama by the time the 4th quarter rolls around, at least on paper.
Miami matches up well with the Raiders and their defense does not get consistent pressure on the QB. That means that Tua Tagovailoa should see enough daylight to make plays and if Miami can control the line of scrimmage with their running backs, they will control the flow of the game and the clock.
Miami can’t be conservative and they would benefit by taking a big lead early so they can wear down the Raiders defense. Today is a game that Miami should win but this is the NFL and there is no taking time off. Brian Flores has been preaching this week that the Dolphins are playing the Raiders in the first round of their playoff season and they indeed are.