The Dolphins find themselves in a strange position as they prepare for their regular season finale against the New York. They have nothing to play for, unless you count getting a 10th victory — which still won't get them in the playoffs.

It's a different situation for guys like Jason Taylor and Sam Madison, who have been with the Dolphins since 1997 and always have had something on the line in the last week of the regular season.

But for the first time since 1996, the Dolphins were eliminated prior to their final game. That season, Jimmy Johnson's first after replacing Don Shula, the Dolphins were 7-8 heading into a game against — who else? — the New York Jets.

"It's different," said Taylor. "It's the first time obviously and hopefully the last time. It's something I don't like and don't want to have to do again, but it's still a game. It's a chance to go compete and we are all going to approach it accordingly."

The Dolphins made the playoffs every year from 1997 to 2001 before being knocked out in the regular season finale at New England last December.

Ironically, they could finish with a better record than in 1997 and 1999, two seasons when they made the playoffs.

"Certainly we hoped this game would mean a lot more than it's going to, but it's still going to be a football game," said quarterback Jay Fiedler, a member of the Dolphins since 2000. "It's going to be physical. It's going to be hard-fought. Both teams aren't just going to lie down and let the season end just like that. We are both trying to win this game."

What will follow the season finale certainly will be interesting because of all the talk about the futures of guy like Fiedler, Coach Dave Wannstedt and others.

But this week the focus is on the New York Jets.

"We're all on the same page here," Taylor said. "We are all trying to get the same thing accomplished. Even though some of our goals are out of reach for us now, we're still working on this last one."

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