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After roller coaster start to 2010, Dolphins could be on the verge of their "breakthrough" moment

Does anyone remember back when the NFL schedule was announced? Many of us spoke about how brutal those first eight games of the season were shaping up to be. Then back in June, I wrote about how crucial it would be for the Dolphins to get off to a quick start - which had been an issue this team has struggled with under Tony Sparano.

In that piece, I also declared that I'd be thrilled if the Dolphins could win five of these first eight games.

At 2-0, many Dolphin fans started thinking big - very big. Our expectations for 2010 prematurely skyrocketed. Who could blame us? Back-to-back road wins to start the season, one of which against a team that we thought was one of the best in the NFL, is cause to start thinking big things.

However, back-to-back home losses to divisional foes put a damper on everything. And so Miami's 2010 roller coaster ride commenced.

Up and down. Two wins followed by two losses. A win in Green Bay followed by a loss at home to Pittsburgh.

To say it's been an interesting start to the season for the Dolphins would be an understatement. Unbeaten on the road. Winless at home. Pressure, tension, and stress everywhere.

Wins haven't come easy for this team. Outside of that special teams disaster against the Patriots, every game this year has been a one score game. Every win could have easily gone the other way. And one loss in particular probably should have gone the other way.

In the locker room on Sunday after the Dolphins defeated the Bengals and improved to 4-0 on the road, head coach Tony Sparano said this to his team:

"Fellas, it ain't this roller coaster thing. OK? This has got to be the breakthrough we're talking about. Got to be. We've got to get going now. Urgency. Remember what I told you. Last week we talked about urgency out of tragedy. Right now, urgency so that we can take care of us. Let's take care of us right now."

On Sunday the Dolphins travel up to Baltimore to take on the 5-2 Ravens - one of the teams the Dolphins will be in a fight with for a playoff spot. It's the kind of game that would make a statement if the Dolphins win. It would be the "breakthrough" that Tony Sparano was referring to.

After all of this team's ups and downs in 2010, the Dolphins have an opportunity to rise out from one of the toughest first-half schedules with a 5-3 record and be right where many Dolphin fans - myself included - were hoping to be after these first eight games.

It's been a rough roller coaster ride for this Dolphins team. We've seen some very high highs and some rather low lows. Through it all, the resiliency and resolve of this team has been impressive.

It hasn't been easy. It hasn't been pretty. But the Dolphins again have given us fans hope.

Now it's time for that breakthrough moment.