Now or Never?

With the lowly New York Jets playing at Dolphin Stadium on Sunday, it has been acknowledged for a while that this represents the best chance for the Dolphins to finally get a victory this season. But this week we also have heard many suggestions that it might be the last chance. At first glance, the premise makes a lot of sense, but is it really accurate?

The schedule after Sunday's game is as follows: at Buffalo, vs. Baltimore, at New England, vs. Cincinnati.

Here's where we're not totally buying the Jets or 0-16 idea: Outside of New England, all of the Dolphins' remaining opponents have losing records.

It's not as though beating any of them will require some great miracle, just for the Dolphins to finally makes some plays when it counts.

Break them down one by one: You start with Buffalo, which is 5-6 and needed a late field goal to beat the Dolphins three weeks agp; then you have Baltimore, whose offense has been a joke and whose defense has given up more than 30 points in back-to-back weeks for the first time since 1999; and then you have Cincinnati, which is one of the biggest underachieving teams in the league this season.

Mind you, the Dolphins likely will be underdogs in all of those games and easily could lose all three by wide margins.

Buffalo could have Marshawn Lynch back when the teams meet Dec. 9, and the weather conditions might make it tough on the Dolphins offense.

The Baltimore defense has proven vulnerable in recent weeks, yes, but it's still capable of pitching a shutout any week.

Finally, the Bengals have enough weapons on offense -- with the likes of Carson Palmer, Rudi Johnson, Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh -- to put up a lot of points against the Dolphins, and Miami is ill-equipped to get involved in a shootout.

So, yes, the Dolphins could lose all three of those games, but to say they have no shot of taking things too far.

The Dolphins have been competitive in recent weeks, losing against the Giants, Bills and Steelers by three points and leading the Eagles at halftime before losing by 10.

The law of averages suggests the Dolphins will catch a break at some point.

Against the Jets, the Dolphins might not even need that many breaks because New York is weak offensively to begin with and also will be without starting wideout Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles is a question mark.

So the Dolphins have a legitimate chance to win this game, although nothing is guaranteed with this Dolphins edition.

On the flip side, though, it's not guaranteed the Dolphins automatically will lose their last four games.

Yes, the Jets represent the Dolphins' best chance to get in the win column. But, no, they don't represent their last chance.


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Alain Poupart is the Associate Editor of Dolphin Digest and DolphinDigest.com. To read him every day, visit DolphinDigest.com and become a Miami Dolphins insider.