Last week the Miami Dolphins got their sixth win in a row against the San Francisco 49ers, and improved to 7 -4 already improving from last year’s record of 6 – 10. They now control their own destiny heading into the playoffs. This week the Dolphins face a tough test in the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, at 1 pm EDT.
Looking at the next three games, this one feels like it matters the most, considering the Ravens have a 6-5 record, this will likely have huge impact on the playoff race with the winner gaining the tiebreaker advantage.
In a must win game like this I wouldn’t have given Joe Philbin’s Dolphins much of a chance. However, this is now the Adam Gase era so I’m going to not only give the Dolphins a chance but I’m giving them a win as well 17 – 13 in a defensive battle. A win here gives the Dolphins a 8 -4 record, a loss drops them to a 7-5 record.
If the Dolphins are to pull out the win they’ll need their passing game to step up since it’s likely the Ravens top ranked rush defense will slow down Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi.
As for defensive injuries the Dolphins decreased their total from 5 injured players down to 4. Linebacker Kiko Alonso (hamstring) was limited in practice, cornerback Xavien Howard (knee) limited practice (and will not play Sunday), linebacker Jelani Jenkins (knee/hand) did not practice, and Defensive Tackle Earl Mitchell (back) limited practice.
As for special teams, punt returner Jakeem Grant is supposed to continue returning punts heading in Baltimore. However, he may not get any more chances should his struggles continue there, especially considering he was benched last week in favor of Jarvis Landry. Kenyan Drake however made the most of his limited returns with a 78 yard return last week, so it could be interesting to see who Adam Gase decides to go with should Grant continue to struggle.
The Dolphins head into what feels like an early playoff game against the Ravens riding a 6 game win streak and finally controlling their own destiny after some help from the Kansas City Chiefs. With the playoffs just 5 short weeks away this is Adam Gase’s chance to prove himself to Dolphins fans everywhere that this isn’t the same old Dolphins team that would collapse in late season football, but rather this is the new Dolphins who close out the season strong and who will make the playoffs for the first time since 2008.