NFL Miami Dolphins

5 Reasons Miami Dolphins Aren’t Serious Contenders

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5 Reasons Miami Dolphins Aren’t Serious Contenders

5 Reasons
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s face it, the Miami Dolphins weren’t supposed to be in the discussion of playoffs in December and still shouldn’t be. Joe Philbin and Ryan Tannehill happened to win games in a conference with a few elite teams and a lot of mediocre teams.

The AFC is seeing another year led by familiar favorites and good quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Andrew Luck and the list goes on. While those teams will fare better in the days of January, the Dolphins and those in the hunt share in the mediocrity of the rest of the AFC.

Forget the Jonathan Martin fiasco in the season for a minute. In NFL and in life, there is no looking back and wishing for another shot at the Baltimore Ravens. Sadly no one can make the Atlanta Falcons suit up against the Dolphins three more times. Right now the Dolphins are their record, 7-6.

Up next for the Dolphins is the New England Patriots. This is their playoffs as they can’t afford a loss this late in the season. A Dolphins loss ensures the Ravens the sixth seed. Even if the Ravens slip from their sixth seed, though possible as they face off against the Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, and the Cincinnati Bengals, the Dolphins wouldn't be able to catch the Ravens.

The rest of the season for the Dolphins looks promising facing the weaker of the AFC East with games at the Buffalo Bills and hosting the New York Jets. Playing losing teams the Dolphins have to account for how much fight is left in the Bills and Jets. Of course the Bills and the Jets want to play spoiler; the coaches won’t say it, but the media can.

Here are five of the best reasons to remind you that the Dolphins are staying on the beach in January and not the snow.

Erwin Mendoza is a San Diego Chargers writer for Follow him on Twitter @erwinsports, or add him to your network on Google.

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5. More Than Luck

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins' win in the cold at Pittsburgh was a sideline step away from a loss. Though they’ve proven they can move the ball on the ground in the snow, getting into the playoffs requires the Dolphins to do a lot of scoreboard watching. Then if by some miracle they're in, their projected playoff route takes them to Cincinnati, and the Bengals have proven they too can run or pass in the snow.

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4. Strength of Schedule

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Miami came into the season with the fourth rated strength of schedule. Yet of the Dolphins’ seven wins, two have come against playoff contenders and they still have to play New England on Sunday.

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3. It's a Patriots' World

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Right now the AFC East belongs to the Patriots, and the Dolphins, Jets, and Bills are just court jesters. Not one team is playoff ready, and together their records just hover around .500.

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2. Joe Philbin

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The former Green Bay offensive coordinator still has a long road ahead of him. Tannehill's career record has him performing at around .500. Sunday’s must-win against the Patriots keeps Philbin awake at night as Tannehill is currently 0-3 against New England. To compete with the Patriots every year he's going to need a new QB.

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1. Ryan Tannehill

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Tannehill is an unproven commodity with no playoff appearances and inconsistency in his two years in the NFL. Since he started last year, he's owns a 14-15 record. Is this a guy you want facing Brady every year?