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Could Dolphins climb back into playoff picture? Month at home will decide

Los Angeles Chargers v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Then they host the New Giants on December 5th. After their bye week in Week 14, the Dolphins host the New York Jets. The next time the Dolphins are on the road is a Monday Night Football game on December 27 against the New Orleans Saints. The Dolphins have a month at home in a stretch of games that could make or break any playoff chances the team has this season.

“It’s only a help if we prepare the right way, meet the right way, walkthrough the right way, practice the right way and then go out there and execute against what’s going to be some stiff competition definitely this week,” head coach Brian Flores said on Monday about the home stretch for the Dolphins. Of course, he immediately turned any discussion of the future into only what is facing the team this week. “This Carolina team, I was taking a peek at them this morning. They are talented. They are fast. They’ve got a lot of good players. It’s going to be a big challenge.”

Flores is not wrong. The Panthers are going to be a challenge for Miami, especially as quarterback Cam Newton gets more and more comfortable with his return to the team and the offense Carolina runs. However, this is a stretch the Dolphins need to dominate. This is a stretch of the schedule in which Miami faces three teams with a combined 10-21 record. The Panthers lead the group at 5-6.

Jeff Kerr from CSB Sports took a look Tuesday morning at the AFC teams fighting for a Wildcard berth and wrote of Miami, “How are the Dolphins — a team that started 1-7 — in the AFC playoff picture? Winning three in a row will help in a wild AFC, including an upset of the Ravens on a short week. Miami has its problems, yet have a very favorable schedule over the next month that can get the Dolphins back in the playoff conversation. The offense and defense are among the worst in football, yet the Dolphins could actually get to 8-7 thanks to the teams on the schedule they have coming up. Miami can’t have one blemish over the next month — or the Dolphins can kiss their playoff hopes goodbye.”

Miami has a month at home. They need to take advantage of the schedule and come out of this stretch in position to make a final push into the AFC playoff picture. Can they do it? Is it possible the Dolphins, who have a seven-game losing streak on their record for the 2021 season, could fight their way back into the playoff picture?

This month in South Florida will answer that question.