The Miami Dolphins control their own destiny. Win out and win the AFC. Top seed, a bye-week, and respect. Lose one and they will just make it harder on themselves. It starts today.
For the Dolphins, the task at hand is simple. Beat the Dallas Cowboys and secure a playoff birth. Nothing else matters and nothing else will get them a ticket to the postseason. There is no other combination of game outcomes that will get Miami in with a loss this weekend.
A win today does not get them into the top spot of the AFC. That would come with a victory today and a loss by the Ravens on Christmas Day to the 49ers. Miami's grip on the top seed would then move to next week with a head-to-head match against the Ravens in Baltimore on New Year's Eve.
Miami can't clinch the AFC East today. The Bills' victory over the Chargers on Saturday keeps the division undecided. Miami will face the Bills in week 18 and that weekend is shaping up to be the game that decides the division. Unless...the Dolphins can beat the Cowboys today and the Ravens next week.
Miami's two-game lead is thin. It should have been a three-game lead but you can't change your history, you can only learn from it. Miami needs to learn from it.
The Cowboys are the best team they have faced since they played the Chiefs in Germany. The Cowboys have a more than capable offense that borders on elite at times. They have a defense that does the same.
Miami is playing for a playoff birth today. They are playing to keep pace for the AFC East title and the AFC top seed. The Cowboys are trying to hold on to their own division lead. It's a game of inches and today, it will be just that. Which team wants it more? How much do the Dolphins want it?