This Sunday’s Dolphins game vs the San Diego Chargers is a defacto playoff game for the Dolphins. We are past the mid-way point of the season, the Dolphins are 4-4, and a loss here all but ends any realistic shot the Dolphins have at the playoffs. There is no moral victory with this San Diego game, a loss here and we can all start thinking about the 2017 draft.
That above paragraph may sound over the top or over dramatic but its 100% true if you really think about it. The odds the Dolphins make the playoffs sitting at 4-4 in the AFC as we sit here in the second week of November is slim to begin with. A loss to San Diego all but ends any realistic shot.
Look around the AFC folks, in the AFC west you have 3 legit playoff teams in KC, Oakland, and Denver. One will win the division and the other 2 are in prime spots to get a wild card. Throw in San Diego who if they just beat their division rivals the rest of the way will be in a prime spot to get a wild card spot and knock one of the other AFC West teams out of the mix. Now look at the AFC North; Pittsburgh or Baltimore will win the division and the other will be in the mix for a wild card spot. Also don’t sleep on Cincinnati they have too much talent to sleep on.
The Dolphins are thrown into a cluster of these teams fighting for a wild card spot and at 4-4 playing another team that is in this mix they must win this week against them. There is no, well if they lose they are still ok and have a chance. NO, if the Dolphins lose this week you can end the wild card talk as the entire AFC West (that’s right all 4 teams) will have a more realistic shot at making the playoffs than the Fins. And the loser of Pitt and Baltimore for the AFC North crown will still be in this mix and who knows if Cincinnati gets hot throw them in as well. At 4-5 the Dolphins odds of leap-frogging multiple teams to get that 6th wild card spot becomes difficult if not impossible. At 5-4 the Fins are in a great position.
The Dolphins schedule the rest of the way isn’t tough, in fact you could say its pretty easy. San Fran is terrible, the LA Rams don’t have a QB and can’t score any points, when Miami plays the Jets again they won’t have their starting left tackle and they may be starting a rookie or Bryce Petty at QB, Baltimore is good but far from great and they have many flaws, Buffalo is good but about equal to Miami in talent. It’s not like Miami will be a huge underdog in any game the rest of the way (minus New England. And they may be resting folks come Week 17.)
This San Diego game is really it for the Fins. This is the big moment of the 2016 season. This San Diego team is a team that is on par with Miami talent wise, has a legit QB, and has the potential to blow out the Dolphins if they bring their “A” game. No other team (minus New England and maybe Arizona, (maybe Arizona)) on the Dolphins schedule the rest of the way you can say that about.
A Dolphins win this upcoming Sunday and they will have a ton of momentum. They will be on a 4 game winning streak looking at games vs LA and SF. The Dolphins two toughest games the rest of the way will be at home (Arizona and New England.) Not to mention they will be able to kick back and watch the AFC West beat each other up and put losses on each other while Miami can hopefully rack up wins vs sub-par teams who play bad QB’s (LA, SF, NYJ..etc)
Hear me now, believe me later. If Miami wins this week they will control their playoff destiny the rest of the way. And we can all begin to talk about the Miami Dolphins as a 2016 playoff team.