It wasn’t pretty, but the Miami Dolphins put away their AFC East rivals on Monday Night Football to place them firmly in the driver’s seat of their own playoff destiny. With a win over the New York Jets, the Dolphins are right in the wild card picture with a solid chance to make the playoffs. If the playoffs started tomorrow, the Fins would be in. Of course, they don’t start tomorrow and Miami is currently focusing all their attention on a win next week versus Baltimore. The Ravens come to town with an equal record 0f 7-5, same as the Dolphins, with Miami leading the tie breaker due to a better division record. That won’t mean much, if anything, if Baltimore finds a way to win in Miami on Sunday.
Current Playoff Picture:
In 2014, the Miami Dolphins are looking better in all phases of the game. Tannehill is finally improving as a pocket passer, the offensive line is stout and the secondary may just be second to none. However, if the Fins really hope to secure a playoff spot, it’s no secret that there are facets of the game they must improve upon. The first improvement must come on defense. When it comes to stopping the run, Miami ranks 21st in the league, allowing opponents to rush for over 118 yards per game. Stopping Justin Forsett, who has already eclipsed 1000 rushing yards on the season, will certainly be a key to success this Sunday. In addition, the Fins need to find a way become more versatile on offense.
While 3rd year quarterback Ryan Tannehill has improved, he has yet to connect on many deep balls over the top. “We don’t want to just keep pulling the dink and dunk short passes. We want to make plays,” stated Tannehill after the narrow victory on Monday night. Tannehill knows it will take more than the Fins have been producing to make and ultimately win in the playoffs. In addition to stopping the run and airing it out on offense, the Fins simply need to cut down on the mistakes and produce in the 4th quarter like they did on Monday. Late interceptions and dropped passes have been a killer for this team all year.
The Miami Dolphins are a few heartbreaking final drives away from having a much better record this season. First it was Aaron Rodgers and the fake spike/touchdown pass. Then came the late game heroics by Matthew Stafford in Detroit, and of course, being outlasted by Peyton Manning in Denver to lose a thriller by a mere two points. This Dolphins team is better than their record suggests and they aim to prove that on Sunday and establish themselves as a legitimate playoff contender.
Written by Grant Cohen