It’s deja vu all over again as we see our beloved Miami Dolphins on the brink of the playoffs with their two final games of the year against division rivals. This time it feels different though, it feels really different. Mainly because this Dolphins team is different and it is easy to believe that this is one of the best six teams in the AFC at this time.
There is a chance that come Christmas night the Miami Dolphins will have locked up a playoff spot. They need to beat Buffalo and need Kansas City to beat Denver which are very possible and realistic outcomes. It’s not like we need the Browns or the Jaguars to beat a good team to get in. The scenario Miami is in is very realistic and possible. With that said, the first step in all of this happening is Miami beating Buffalo.
Rich Stadium/Ralph WilsonStadium/New Era Field (god this franchise changes stadium names as much as we do) has been a house of horrors in recent years for the Fins. In fact the last time Miami has won there was 2011 when you guessed it, Matt Moore was the starting quarterback for Miami. Moore had a brilliant, yes brilliant game last week vs the Jets. Part of it was because he played well and the other part is because the Jets defense is downright awful. This week vs Buffalo Matt Moore won’t have that luxury of playing a downright awful defense. The Bills will bring pressure early and often and force Moore to make throws to beat them. Rex Ryan will dial up some crazy blitzes to get Moore and the Fins offense off their game. Against the Jets Moore made the big throws and nothing phased him. Now can he do it two weeks in a row facing a better secondary? That is the sixty four thousand dollar question.
This 2016 Dolphins season to me has played out a lot like the famous baseball movie “MAJOR LEAGUE” (take away the crazy owner who wants to move the team part.) In that movie the team that is a perianal loser gets off to a horrible start and it’s the same ole song and dance for the franchise, another losing season on the horizon. But wait, then out of the blue the team that is always losing gets sick of losing and turns thing around and goes on a major winning streak and is in the thick of chasing a playoff spot.
I’m not sure if Matt Moore reminds me of the Jake Taylor role or the Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn role. Moore could be considered the grizzly old vet like catcher Jake Taylor in the movie who is the steady veteran hand leading a bunch of young guys who nobody has ever heard of. On the other hand he could be like the Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn character as he is coming out of the bullpen late to lock down some wins and bring home the victory.
I could sit here and write paragraph after paragraph about X’s and O’s with this week’s game and go over if the Fins will miss Byron Maxwell at cornerback should he not play and do the Fins have enough cornerback depth to match up with the Bills super fast wide receivers. Or go over if Kraig Urbik or Anthony Steen are good enough to block anyone at center to get this running game back on track. I could break down on if the Dolphins poor linebackers can make enough plays to bring home another win. I could go in depth about all of that, but let’s be honest this game will be won or lost on how Matt Moore plays. This week is really “THE MATT MOORE SHOW!”
Do I expect Matt Moore to have another 4 touchdown game; oh hell no. But Moore needs to make big passes on third downs and not turn the ball over. Moore does not have much zip on his passes that is clear as day while watching last weeks game. He got away vs the Jets with just floating balls around the field and the Jets not able to make plays. Can he get away with that vs Buffalo? I’m not so sure.
For the Dolphins to the recipe is the same as last week, don’t ask Matt Moore to do too much. No more than 20 pass attempts, run the ball, play the field position game, and don’t be afraid to punt. On defense the Fins must load up to stop LeSean McCoy as the Bills are the #1 rushing team in the NFL and do not let speedsters like Marquise Goodwin and Sammy Watkins blow by our corners.
Usually when the Dolphins go to Buffalo in December I have little to no faith in them leaving with a victory. This feels different though as everything about this year has felt different. It may not be pretty, it may not look great, but I just sense this team is going to come out of Buffalo with a win. Maybe the final is 9-6 or maybe its 34-31, just that when the final whistle is blown this team will be the team on top. All year they have done it and just have found a way. Can they do it one more time? Can they do it in the cold on Christmas Eve in Buffalo, NY? I think they can.
Like in the movie Major League I think this team can overcome that final obstacle and just find a way. And if that happens, then on Christmas Night the Dolphins nation will be tuned into NBC to see if Kansas City can give the Dolphins the best Christmas present ever! Because as we know as Dolphins fans,….”ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS A PLAYOFF SPOT”