It’s time for the Miami Dolphins to close the deal and win the division

Nov 24, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel looks on
Nov 24, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel looks on / Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

There are plenty of droughts in regards to a franchise that first took the field in the American Football League in 1966. The Miami Dolphins haven’t won a playoff game since 2000, haven’t been to the Super Bowl since 1984 (XIX), and this season marks 50 years since they last hoisted the Lombardi Trophy.

First things first. How about a division title, something that hasn’t happened since 2008? When you consider what’s happening with the other three teams in the AFC East, it seems destined to happen.

The 6-6 Buffalo Bills continue to be a big disappointment and have already lost twice as many games as they did a season ago. The 4-7 New York Jets and 2-9 New England Patriots have combined to win six games and both teams are currently riding four-game skids. Those three clubs have teamed to win only a dozen games.

Meanwhile. Mike McDaniel’s Dolphins own an 8-3 record. Every time the club has lost a game, it has rebounded with a solid effort. The AFC East leaders are at Washington on Sunday to face the team that is allowing the most points per game (29.2) in the league. Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio was fired after the team’s 45-10 loss at Dallas on Thanksgiving Day.

The Commanders have surrendered 350 points in a dozen games, seven more than they allowed (343) in 17 contests in 2022. Ron Rivera’s team has already given up 28 scores through the air.

Then things get interesting. Four of the club’s final five games are at Hard Rock Stadium, where the Dolphins are unbeaten (5-0) to date. Miami hosts the Titans, Jets, and Cowboys. There’s a trip to Baltimore in Week 17, followed by a rematch with the Bills in South Florida.

Still, one thing that could derail the team’s march to that elusive division title. Suddenly the Dolphins have committed 19 turnovers. McDaniel’s club has given up the ball at least once in 10 of their 11 games. The past two weeks, albeit victories over the Raiders and Jets, Miami has a combined six miscues – three in each contest and five of those by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

If the Dolphins take care of business, they figure to be in the fight for not only an AFC East title but the top seed in the AFC playoffs. However, taking care of business also means taking care of the ball and not looking past any opponent.

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