Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns - Can Miami Still Make Playoffs?

Can the Dolphins respond after two losses to open the season to make the playoffs?

The mood around the Miami Dolphins this week has been - let's say negative.  Many, many fans have written off the season already, and are looking forward to the 2012 Draft.  

While I don't understand why these fans have given up on Miami, simply because they lost to the Patriots, a perennial Super Bowl contender, and an AFC South Division favorite Houston Texans team, I do understand some of the frustration.  Calling for Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland to be fired may be a little premature, but, after flirting with Jim Harbaugh in the offseason, the Dolphins have done this to themselves.  

Either way, the real question is, can the Dolphins do something this season, or is it over?  Does an 0-2 start mean you can't make the playoffs?

Michael Signora, NFL Vice President of Football Communications, tweeted this week:

"Since current playoff format instituted in 1990, 22 teams started 0-2 @ made playoffs"

Which made me think, could the Dolphins still make the post season tournament?

In fact, four Super Bowl Champions have started 0-2.  The 1993 Dallas Cowboys started 0-2 before winning Super Bowl XXVIII. The 0-2 New England Patriots of 1996 played in Super Bowl XXXI, and in 2001, the 0-2 Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI. The 2007 New York Giants started 0-2 before winning Super Bowl XLII.

Here are all the teams to start at least 0-2, and still play into January:

YEAR

TEAM

WINLESS START

ADVANCED TO:

1990

Houston Oilers

0-2

Wild Card Playoffs

Philadelphia Eagles

0-2

Wild Card Playoffs

New Orleans Saints

0-2

Wild Card Playoffs

1991

Atlanta Falcons

0-2

Wild Card Playoffs

1992

San Diego Chargers

0-4

Divisional Playoffs

1993

Pittsburgh Steelers

0-2

Wild Card Playoffs

Dallas Cowboys

0-2

Won Super Bowl XXVIII

1994

New England Patriots

0-2

Wild Card Playoffs

1995

Detroit Lions

0-3

Wild Card Playoffs

1996

New England Patriots

0-2

Lost Super Bowl XXXI

1998

Arizona Cardinals

0-2

Divisional Playoffs

Buffalo Bills

0-3

Wild Card Playoffs

New York Jets

0-2

Championship Game

2001

New England Patriots

0-2

Won Super Bowl XXXVI

2002

Atlanta Falcons

0-2

Divisional Playoffs

Pittsburgh Steelers

0-2

Divisional Playoffs

2003

Philadelphia Eagles

0-2

Championship Game

2006

Kansas City Chiefs

0-2

Wild Card Playoffs

2007

New York Giants

0-2

Won Super Bowl XLII

2008

Miami Dolphins

0-2

Wild Card Playoffs

Minnesota Vikings

0-2

Wild Card Playoffs

San Diego Chargers

0-2

Divisional Playoffs

 

This year, the Dolphins final 14 games are:

at Cleveland (tomorrow)

at San Diego (October 2)

at NY Jets (October 17)

Denver (October 23)

at NY Giants (October 30)

at Kansas City (November 6)

Washington (November 13)

Buffalo (November 20)

at Dallas (November 24)

Oakland (December 4)

Philadelphia (December 11)

at Buffalo (December 18)

at New England (December 24)

NY Jets (January 1)

Of those remaining 14 games, the Dolphins could very easily pick up a chunk of wins.  In fact, I could see them winning nine of them.  Those nine wins would leave the Dolphins 9-7, which is a very common, preseason prediction for this team (at least around here - not among the "experts").  At 9-7, the Dolphins could be flirting with a playoff berth.  It might miss the playoff cut off, but it could be a record at least competitive for the second wildcard slot.

So, while things look bleak, understand that all really isn't lost.  Maybe, just maybe, the Dolphins could put things together and make a run at this.  After all, we're only 12.5% into the season.

But, things need to turn around starting this week in Cleveland.  Hopefully, they will.

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