The Miami Dolphins were cruising on a three game winning streak before the game against the Buffalo Bills, and seemingly had the playoffs firmly in their grasp. That all changed with a 19-0 loss against a Buffalo team that didn't even have their starting quarterback on show. Once again Dolphins fans, coaches and players are brought back down to earth.
Unfortunately, the Dolphins no longer have control of their own destiny. A Miami win and a Baltimore loss, or a Miami win and a San Diego by San Diego, would secure their place in the postseason.
That's easier said than done. While the New York Jets have been abysmal this season, and are set to miss the playoffs for their third straight season, the team will be eager to see their old rivals falter at the last hurdle in what may be Rex Ryan's final game in charge. What a fitting end to the season that would be for New York.
Miami has to make sure that does not happen. Part of that will depend on which offence shows up on Sunday. Will it be the offence that powered through New York's defensive line for 126 rushing yards on 35 carries, or will it be the offence that was humiliated against the Bills with only 14 rushing yards on 12 carries. If the offensive line once again clicks, and the running game gets going, that will really help to open up things for Ryan Tannehill and this talented group of receivers that on their day can put anyone to the sword.
Coincidentally, the outcome of this game may also depend on which Geno Smith decides to turn up. Smith was diabolical against Miami on December 1st, where he was ejected out of the game at halftime. Since he has been benched, Smith has performed admirably with 6 touchdowns and two interceptions. On his day, Smith can be dangerous when either throwing the football or running the ball into the end zone.
Finally, can wide receivers Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline finish the season on a high note? If Jets cornerback Dee Milliner has anything to say about it, they won't. In the last match-up between the two teams Milliner got beaten time and time again by Miami's wide receivers. Will the rookie be beaten like that again? Can Cromartie and Milliner help stop Miami's aerial attack? Time will tell.
The Miami Dolphins final regular season game will tell the football world what this team is capable of. There's no doubt that this team is talented, but they have to maintain that consistency game in, game out, in order to be playoff contenders for many years to come. Many believed that was finally happening after winning three games on the bounce, but the loss to Buffalo raises more questions than answers. Which Miami team will turn up? That will be the defining factor in this football game.
This one is too close to call. Miami will either put it together and come away with an easy win, or will make life difficult for themselves in a heartbreaking loss. I'll let you decide this one. What do you think will be the final score?