During this bye week, I have been doing some real reflecting. I’ve thought about how the white chocolate macadamia nut cookies are the end all and be all of Christmas cookies, how when I got deep into the movie JFK was a turning point for me in my life, and how learning that a lot of it wasn’t true sort of deflated me for a bit, and how Duke Johnson might never have signed with the Dolphins due to that pesky Mandela Effect occurring to our universe. I’ve thought long and hard about a lot of things. But one of the things I have really given a lot of thought about is how the Miami Dolphins can pull off the impossible and be the first 1-6 team to make the playoffs.
We all can rattle off the usual reasons as to why the Dolphins, winners of five straight, can make the playoffs. We all point to the schedule. That’s a good start. Miami faces the Zach Wilson led Jets next week, the according to Chris Simms much better than Tua Taysum Hill led Saints on Monday night football, then the Ryan Tannehill led Titans who have a chance of getting Derrick Henry back for that week, and a showdown with NFL royalty, the Mac Jones led Patriots in Miami to end the season. That’s a schedule that doesn’t include Mahomes, Rodgers, Brady, or Allen which means I really don’t fear anybody else.
Folks also point to the ascending defense. As well they should be. During the last five games, the Dolphin’s defense has been playing at an elite level and has made their season numbers much more able to stomach compared to where they were at six weeks ago.
Then, we fans connect the dots that given the fact the Dolphin’s defense feasts on average quarterback play and that the rest of the Dolphin’s schedule is littered with average quarterbacks, that the Dolphin’s defense is in a prime situation to keep their foot on the gas of their highly aggressive defense. Makes sense to me as well.
And the final reason we’re starting to believe like Neo did when he realized he was the One(I promise this isn’t me pushing to see Matrix Resurrections on December 22), is that Tua Tagovailoa is playing quality football. He’s not playing no-brainer put the guy in Canton level of football. But he’s doing what is being asked of him with a team that is playing stellar defense. If you want to call it game managing, go for it. Does he have to raise up his game if he wants to beat the big boy teams, with the big boy quarterbacks? I think so, yes. But what he is doing now, with how efficient he is, given that he has to play like this because his offensive line is beyond horrid with exactly zero running game to help, I think it’s pretty darn good.
Those reasons are, typically, the front runner answers when you ask a Miami fan how can the team make the playoffs. I have another one that I think is very important and that’s the Miami Dolphins’ overall health.
Heading into the Giant’s game last Sunday, the Dolphins had only a few guys not suit up who are contributing members of the squad. Those players were Phillip Lindsay, who’s only been here for a few weeks and has only played in one game, Will Fuller, which if you’re expecting Fuller to ever show up in a Dolphin’s uniform you’re nuts which means he probably will show up at some time, Adam Shaheen and Brandon Jones. Jones and Shaheen are the only guys that haven’t played recently who I would say are guys that the Dolphins could really use. Sure, Fuller would help but who knows how’d he do. And Phillips, I need to see more to make any call on.
Brandon Jones had been replaced by Eric Rowe who he pretty much supplanted as the starting strong safety and fortunately, Rowe hasn’t missed a beat. Rowe is currently second on the team in total tackles, two behind Jerom Baker, so this guy can play, and let’s be honest we’ve known for a bit that he can. But I would love to see Brandon Jones back out there being the heat-seeking missile that he is coming off the edge. He was questionable last week so I expect him to play against the Jets. Same with Lindsay.
Even DeVante Parker is healthy, at the moment. Someone might want to check on him to see that his hamstrings are doing well over the bye week. The team is going to need him in this stretch run so people should be wrapping him in bubble wrap and all that.
My point is that the Dolphins are doing very well in the health department where many of the teams in front of them have injuries to key players. The Titans, Browns, Ravens, and Bills have major injuries to key players. Miami having more of their better players being all systems go to play is an advantage for them especially against the schedule they going forward with their defense playing at the level that is and with Tua playing smart football.
All of these factors, if the Dolphins are going to pull this thing off, are going to have to happen. I’m still not ready to say it’s going to happen. I’m still in the mindset that I know how the Dolphins operate and the fall is coming because it always does. But a path to the improbable is out there and I’m all for it. Enjoy your Friday.
By the Way- Do we all think that Jaylen Waddle is cheating injury right now? Meaning, how many times is he going to be on the ground clutching his knee while all getting rageful thinking of a world where he isn’t available? I shudder to think of what happens if he’s not out there.