First, we’ll state what I believe is the obvious. This season is already a success for the Miami Dolphins. Grasp it. Savor it. Don’t deny it. The Dolphins are 10-5 heading into Sunday’s season-finale at Buffalo. Their rebuild is on fast forward, already surpassing the expectations of so many, and it is clear that many of the pieces are beginning to look like long-term solutions.
All of that will remain true whether or not the Dolphins beat the Bills on Sunday in upstate New York or whether or not they make the playoffs. Nothing, you see, can take away from the seeds that have been planted this season. Nothing can remove the feel-good story this team has produced over the past four months.
But a spot in the playoffs would be a nice way to cap this season off, wouldn’t it? So why stop now? Why not see if last Saturday’s heart-pounding comeback over the Raiders was a clear sign that something special is in the works. Something magical. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, something magical won’t include Fitz-Magic against the Bills. This will be Tua’s show. No fourth quarter hook in this one.
The computers say the Dolphins have all sorts of ways to get into the postseason tournament. But the best route is to do it themselves and that means beating a Bills team that figures to rest some of its regulars with, at worst, a No. 3 seed in the AFC all locked up.
I’m truthfully not sure the Dolphins have enough offensive talent to win this game if the Bills were at full strength. But in this scenario, with the Dolphins having everything to play for and with the Bills just trying to stay healthy, the likelihood increases that the Dolphins will finish the season with 11 regular season wins for the first time since 2008.
Imagine that, 11 wins. Only two seasons ago we were sitting here talking about a massive rebuild, about having to endure some difficult seasons. Now that seems like lightyears ago.
Granted, this is not a finished product. The defense is clearly the strength of this team. The special teams are also top drawer. It’s the offense that is in need of the most help and that help won’t come until this coming offseason.
In the meantime, the success of this offense will largely depend on the play of Tua Tagovailoa who must now go wire-to-wire, clearly a chance to further solidify himself as the future of this franchise. Can he take his down field passing game to another level? Can he avoid a game-altering turnover? So much resting on this rookie’s shoulders.
The task is clear. Take a very good season and make it even better. Do it yourselves instead of asking for the help of others. I say they can. I say they will.
Dolphins 20, Bills 17. There’s no reason for the fun to stop now.