We are now going into the 4th quarter of the NFL season. The Miami Dolphins are 8-4 and are looking to finish strong to make the playoffs. Right now, if the season ended, the Dolphins would be the number 6 seed if the season ended today, which is a far cry from a year ago when at this time they had 3 wins and everyone was talking about their draft position. The Dolphins have come a long way in a year. If you told me the would be 8-4 going into the final 4 games, I don’t think I would have believed it. As a fan, I want to see my team playing meaningful games in December with a chance to go to the playoffs and a team playing to go to the Super Bowl.

The final 4 games won’t be easy because they are playing 4 teams in the playoff picture starting Sunday against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are better than a year ago and have so many offensive players that can make big plays. The Dolphins’ defense will face their toughest test of the season. This game will come down to whether the Dolphins contain the Chiefs offense and Dolphins score enough points because scoring 20 points or less won’t be enough.

The Dolphins face the mighty New England Patriots, who are 6-6 and not the team of years past, but the Patriots are still the Patriots. They beat the Dolphins in the season opener, and a lot has changed, but with Bill Belichick running the show, you have a chance. This game will be a test for rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa because Belichick always comes up with a scheme to take advantage of its weaknesses. He probably will do things the Denver Broncos did a few weeks ago. The Dolphins also got pushed around at the line of scrimmage on both sides, so it will see how they play this time around.

Then the Las Vegas Raiders, who are 7-5 and a hard team to figure out. They beat the Chiefs one week, then lay an egg against the Atlanta Falcons and need a miracle to beat the winless New York Jets. In the Raiders game, the Dolphins will need tiebreakers in the head-to-head meeting.

The Dolphins finish the season against the Buffalo Bills, who are in first place in the AFC East and beat the Dolphins earlier in the year by a field goal. The Dolphins should have won that game, but what will it be for when this game is played? The Bills could have the division won potentially and a playoff seed wrapped up, so would they rest players? Or is it possible this game could be for the AFC East title? That would be the best-case scenario. The Bills arguably have the best roster in the division, but there are ways to beat them.

It’s a tough way to end the season against 4 teams with a. 500 record or better, but you want to see how your team does against the playoff-caliber competition in December. The Dolphins have had a weak schedule, but that doesn’t mean their record is 8-4 because of that. They have a good young team, who has gotten better as the year went on. The Dolphins now have a chance to show how good they are in the final quarter of the season, and if they can play good enough in this stretch, they will have earned it.