If you're a Dolphin fan, like me, you have probably heard (especially if you read my past posts) the narrative that this upcoming 3 game stretch is as tough as it is important. That is true. You probably also have seen on twitter or read on blogs that the Dolphins best course of action over the next three games would be to go AT LEAST 2-1 against the Lions, Bills and Broncos. I believe that, but I want to outline the Dolphins road to the playoffs depending on each possible outcome of the upcoming three games.
This is the dream scenario. If the Dolphins beat the Lions Sunday and the Bills on Thursday they would have 10 days to prepare for the match-up against the Broncos with nothing to lose. The Broncos would be heavy favorite and if the Dolphins pulled of the upset it would not only make them in prime playoff position, but rank them among the best teams in the league.
Winning the next three would give the Dolphins an 8-3 record with winnable games left on the schedule. That would almost assure the Dolphins of winning enough games to make the playoffs. At 8-3 even the division would be in striking distance.
If the Dolphins are 7-4 three Sundays from now they will be in good position. If they can take care of inferior teams like the Jets and Vikings ten wins are within reach and that should be good enough to secure a wild card spot. It isn't a lock, but it is definitely going to make December football meaningful. While this is the likely goal all is not necessarily lost if the Dolphins fall short.
This would be a bad spot for the team. At 6-5 wins over the Jets and Vikings are still probable, but now in order to secure the 10 wins that will likely be needed to make the playoffs a win over either the Patriots or Ravens becomes necessary and that is not a spot you want to be in down the final stretch of the season.
Lets not forget none of the next three games are going to be easy. Detroit may be the only team in football with a better defense and Buffalo has had the Dolphins number in recent match ups. Its very possible that Miami could be Denver bound with a 5-5 record. A Dolphins team looking at a 5-6 record come the end of this three game stretch would be a team that would struggle to reach .500 on the year. Let alone the playoffs. Lets hope this nightmare scenario doesn't happen.
The Dolphins road to the playoffs can start to be paved this Sunday with a win over the Lions. It will be a defensive struggle. I will break it down for you tomorrow. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter!