The Miami Dolphins are, like a handful of other teams in the AFC, sitting at a mediocre 8-7 heading into week 17 of the 2013 NFL season. Like that handful of teams, the Dolphins in all of their middle-of-the-pack glory have the chance to make the postseason, if things play out in their favor on Sunday.
The Dolphins will face off with the New York Jets on Sunday and need a win or a tie to stay alive. There are other things in their playoff scenarios that need to happen, but the Dolphins aren’t going to have a chance at all if they don’t come out ahead against the Jets.
The most apparent way that the Dolphins can try and come out top would be for their defense, a unit that hasn’t performed all that well this season, to step up and take advantage of Geno Smith by forcing him to make bad decisions and, ideally, to commit turnovers. However, another key component for this game is going to be the play of Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
New York boasts the third best rushing defense in the league this season, which doesn’t bode well for an already ineffective rushing attack involving Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas. However, the Jets have proven to be vulnerable defensively against the pass, allowing just under 250 yards per game.
Tannehill has been inconsistent this season, but he’ll have the chance to prove that he’s worth his salt in week 17. If Tannehill can come out and take advantage of the Jets’ defense by moving the ball well and not turning the ball over, it will certainly help his stock as an individual player rise. Moreover, it will also give Miami a shot at getting into the playoffs.