As Bill Parcells was fond of saying, you are what your record says you are. However, as we here at this column are equally fond of saying, records can often be misleading, particularly for a team playing a fourth place schedule that has also won at least three games this season which it should have lost. The Miami Dolphins, at 7-5, may still boast a winning record, but a closer look reveals a franchise that, in a 32 team league, is 25th on offense and 25th on defense. Translation: the Dolphins don't belong in the playoffs, and if they should somehow manage to wangle a ticket to the postseason dance, we can expect them to beaten in much the same fashion in which they were mauled by the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
After giving up 475 total yards to the San Francisco 49ers a week earlier, Miami yielded a torturous 496 yards to Joe Flacco and the Ravens this time out. Opposing offenses have figured out how to beat the Miami defense: instruct your offensive linemen to hold their blocks long enough for the quarterback to throw short and intermediate passes and force the Dolphins' ragtag collection of linebackers and safeties, many of whom were signed off the street or other teams' practice squads, etc, to make tackles that they simply aren't talented enough to make.
To be sure, the Dolphins have made tremendous improvement this season, and shown themselves a force to be reckoned with for the remainder of the 2016 season, as well as in future years. But if they were to slip into the playoffs this coming January, the likely outcome would be for them to be demolished on the road by the very first team they play, much like their debilitating home loss to the aforementioned Ravens following their Cinderella season in 2008. To have their bandwagon turn back into a pumpkin at Midnight and embarrass themselves in front of a national television audience is not an objective that we, as fans, should be wishing for. Rather than shimmying through the door, only to be beaten soundly by the first time they encounter is not a goal to set for our team. We want to enter the playoffs on a tear, bash the door down and then be the hunters, rather than the hunted, when we make the postseason.
To the old cliche, "Once you get into the playoffs, anything can happen", we say, horse manure - no team, wildcard or otherwise, that was ranked in the 20's both offensively and defensively, has ever won an NFL title. That's our story and we're sticking to it.