In a surprising turn of events, the Miami Dolphins have rallied from a 1-4 start to win six in a row. Whether you attribute the recent success to Adam Gase, Ryan Tannehill, the defense, or a mixture of both, Dolphins fans have gotten something they were not expecting and have not been used to.
Meaningful football in December.
And there may not be a more meaningful game in December for the Dolphins than this Sunday, when the team will head on the road to face the defensive-savvy Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens currently boast one of the league's best defenses, and excel in stopping the run. That could spell problems for the Dolphins, who are unsure who will be starting on what has been a makeshift offensive line all season. Jay Ajayi has been a crucial part of Miami's six game winning streak, but could be limited on Sunday thanks to Baltimore's defense, putting more pressure on QB Ryan Tannehill.
Speaking of Tannehill, the QB has been extremely efficient in his last six games, tossing just one interception to nine touchdowns. With 2 of his last 6 games resulting in a plus 130 passer rating, he will have to continue to play well, and do more than just manage Sunday's game if Miami is to win on the road.
This game is significant for both teams, as the Ravens currently sit atop the AFC North with a 6-5 record, tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens need to win this game not only to stay on top of the Steelers in the division, but also to compete with other teams should they lose and have to fight for a wild card spot.
The Dolphins currently are the 6th seed in the playoff race, taking the last spot from the Denver Broncos. With remaining games against the Buffalo Bills (also in the playoff hunt), New York Jets, New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals, every game counts, especially conference games.
If the Dolphins can win this game, they would find themselves in the driver's seat heading into the final four games of the year.
If they lose, they would more than likely need to make a sweep of their last four games to have a shot at a wild card. They could kiss the division goodbye.
Sunday will feel like a Sunday in early January, and for good reason.
Both teams desperately need this game.