Can the Miami Dolphins overcome their reputation and prove themselves as a formidable team in the playoffs?

There is no one left on the Miami Dolphins schedule for mainstream media to complain about, no more cupcakes for the Dolphins to roll over.

Miami Dolphins fans had fun during the second half of an NFL game against the New York Jets at Hard
Miami Dolphins fans had fun during the second half of an NFL game against the New York Jets at Hard / Jim Rassol / USA TODAY NETWORK
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The Miami Dolphins are a 10-win football team but the 2023 season has been more about who they have lost to rather than who they have beaten.

For the Dolphins, the hiccup against the Titans is in the past. It doesn't matter what the playoff picture might look like today or whether or not Miami would have clinched with their win over the Jets on Sunday. It isn't going to change.

There are no more bad teams on the Dolphins schedule. The narrative of Miami not being able to beat teams above .500 is about to either be proven correct or false. Miami will face three teams down the stretch that have more than 10 wins or are streaking at the right time.

For Miami, the road to the number one seed in the AFC is simple. Win out and take a week off. The AFC East is looking more and more likely to come down to week 18 when the Bills visit Hard Rock Stadium to close the season.

In between week 18 and now, the Dolphins will play the Cowboys and Ravens.

If the Dolphins make the postseason, or when they make the postseason, they will face playoff teams. This year, no team is likely to make it into the AFC Playoffs with less than 10 wins. 9 would be the absolute minimum. In other words, the Dolphins won't face another team below .500 the rest of the year.

Nationally, there is little respect for the Dolphins. Sure, they make a top 5 list every few weeks in a power ranking but it isn't a consistent compliment. For the Dolphins, it's time to prove that this team is different. It's time for Mike McDaniel to prove that he is NFL-ready and can beat teams that come with a spread of less than 7.

Miami is banged up, it won't matter. This is the time the Dolphins need to start playing great football. Sunday was a good turnaround from the week before but Dolphins fans will trade in the 30-0 route for a 7-6 win over the Jets and a 7-6 win over the Cowboys this week.

It's December and the Dolphins traditionally don't play well in December but they will have to this year if they want to make the playoffs, win the division, or even take home the top seed in the AFC.

The 2023 Dolphins have three weeks to send a message to the rest of the NFL that they can beat teams that are good because they too, are good. If they can't, Miami may very well find themselves needing help to get into the postseason and a lot of questions are going to be asked if they do not.