Just as soon as the national media started taking notice of the Miami Dolphins, the team appears to have reverted to the underwhelming group that went 0-7 to start last season. After losing again on Sunday, this time to the lowly Tennessee Titans, Miami falls to 4-5, and is in serious danger of losing any shot at a wild card spot.
As it stands right now, all of the teams in position for the wild card slots are 6-3, except the Pittsburgh Steelers, who play Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. Odds are, the Steelers will also have 6 wins come Sunday morning. This will put the rest of the AFC a minimum of two games back of a playoff berth.
A look at the NFL projections shows the Dolphins as the 8th seed, just behind the 4-5 San Diego Chargers, and ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals. The Dolphins will, at least, need to keep pace with these two teams, while hoping the teams ahead of them falter, if they want to have any hope of playing in January.
There are seven games still to be played for Miami, so hope has not been extinguished, but two of those games will be against the division leading New England Patriots, and they will also face the San Francisco 49ers. If the Dolphins play in those games like they did against the Titans, they may as well start looking at the 2012 draft boards now. Simply put, if Miami were to lose all three of those games, there would be little chance they could make the playoffs with an 8-8 record.
No one should give up on the Dolphins just yet. They were thrashed by a team that, just the week before, gave up 51 points to the Chicago Bears, but one blowout does not define a team’s season. A look at the Chicago Bears, or the Houston Texans, shows us that. The Dolphins may not be the same caliber team as those two examples, but they have shown they are capable of being a very solid squad.
They are going to have to be more than solid these next seven weeks. Anything less and it will be more of the same in South Florida.
Jeff Everette is a Featured Columnist for RantSports.com, covering the NFL and NBA. Follow Jeff on twitter @jeverettesports, like his page on FaceBook, or add his Google + to your circles for all of his latest articles, thoughts, and rants.