Monday, November 10, 2014

The Dolphins Move Up In Playoff Picture Despite Losing To Detroit

A funny thing happened on the way to the AFC playoffs this week.

Going into this week most of the teams who were ranked ahead of the Dolphins in the wildcard picture wound up losing to other AFC teams which allowed the Dolphins to actually move up a slot.

Miami went from #9 to #8.

Ahead of us for the wild card going into Sunday was KC, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati or Cleveland, depending on who wins the AFC North.

Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati all lost to AFC teams which deemed well for us.

Currently Miami has only 2 conference losses in the very competitive AFC standings.

This in itself allows us to almost control our own destiny finishing out the season.

We have the head to head against San Diego who is 5-4 with 3 AFC losses.

Pittsburgh, who lost to the Jets, is now at 6-4 and has 3 AFC losses so if both of us win out, we would have less AFC losses.

Buffalo has the tie breaker on us today but if we win Thursday night they will basically fall 3 games back with 5 AFC losses.

Kansas City has the tie breaker on us and has only 2 AFC losses so at 6-3, they would have to lose 2 more games for us to hurdle them.

So for us to get into the 6th seed, we need to beat Buffalo and then have either Cincinnati or Cleveland lose one more game.

Of course all this depends on us running the table.

But the point is that all is not as bleak as one would think after losing a tough game in Detroit.

Had we won we would be the 6th seed already.

So before anyone goes jumping off the 2014 Season Bridge, there is still plenty of football left and a lot those teams mentioned above still have to play us and each other.

Until two of these AFC teams breaks out of the pack, there is a lot that can happen between now and week 17.

If you won't count your chickens before they hatch then don't count us out either.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Like This Article ? :

20 comments

avatar

Exactly! Thank you. It seems like every time we lose a game "all is lost" on this blog. We're still right in the thick of it. This is a good team and a playoff team if the offense can finally find its balance, but Thursday is a must-win game. McKelvin is already running his mouth and guaranteeing a victory against us. I really hope the phins shut him up.

avatar

@ Carl & JeremyandJessicaBranham:

I couldnt agree more with both of you about the Dolphins being in the thick of things and in good position for a wild card. The only problem is that the Dolphins are consistently inconsistent. So I dont see a playoff berth here. As much as it pains me to say that I just dont see it. Blame their inconsistencies on whatever you want.

Tannehill cannot, for the life of him, hit the deep ball

Tannehill can be inaccurate at times

Receivers drop very catchable passes

The coaches make questionable decisions such as inappropriate time outs

The offense dont play a complete game

All of these things are true to this team. We all saw what happens when they do play a complete game, a 37-0 victory over the Chargers speaks for itself. This team has won in double digits every single game this year when the offense shows up to play. The problem is that you dont know which Dolphins offense will show up from week to week. Consistency is the key to this this team and so far, nothing I have seen gives me confidence about a wild card, I hope I am wrong but I just dont see it

avatar

The Dolphins will be pumped up for Thursday night. This game can be another war.

The game will be won in the trenches so hopefully our O line plays well.

avatar

One thing we have going for us is that if we can just play consistent FINALLY, our schedule isn't bad from here out. The Patriots' is MUCH harder and if they don't continue to play at the level they have been playing I can easily see them losing 4 more games and going 10-6. I can also see Miami losing only 2 more and also going 10-6. It's been a crazy season so who knows what we'll be saying in 7 weeks.

What I do know is you guys that live in Miami better GET YOUR BUTTS TO THE GAME THIS THURSDAY! I'd be there if I weren't 2,500 miles away. I better not see another empty stadium. Miami needs loud, rowdy fans to deafen Kyle Orton.

avatar

You are so right about noise level.

avatar

Dolphins were to conservative with the last 3 minutes & it cost them the game??

avatar

You would hope we could find away to get a first down but that seems to be our Achilles heel.

avatar

Thanks for the boost Carl! I felt ok after the Detroit loss because I felt and feel they are a good team. Super defense and an offense that can do a lot! After arguing back & forth with folks that were disgusted with the Dolphins I damn near felt like giving in and throwing in the towel as well.
As for the team itself: It is a struggle and a huge coaching challenge plus time for some second-third stringers to step up and show why they are on the team. With out Albert we need the UTenn. guys to show their strength.
My vision of teams over the years has been if you struggle with something in the first few games, then continue to struggle with it through the first half of the season, it's not gonna change. It needs to come from a coaching philosophy. A way around it. We tend to play 12 yards and in. At least that is what our passing game looks like. Adjust a bit. 1 or 2 yards is all. A game of inches. The receivers start their breaks 11/2 yards deeper than previously. It will throw off the defense more then you realize.
Adjust Tannehills drop by a 1/2 yard forward, or a 1/2 yard back. He is the one that has to make the biggest change on his passes. The opponents defense, the veterans, have this stuff down with speed, strength, & a mind set on exactly where the WR's & QB will be. Adjust a bit, practice it, and it will throw them off just a bit. Enough for a win. I know it sounds extremely simplistic and probably not effective at all. It's so much more than that. These guys watch HOURS of film and memorize exactly where Hartline is going to make his break. They time themselves for that break physically & mentally. Change it by an odd amount and hope Tanny can make the arm adjustments and we will have more open first downs!!

avatar

The West Coast Offense is designed to attack with short yardage passes that will open up the running game by forcing LB to play deeper and wider to cut off passing lanes.

Lazor throws in a bunch of wrinkles to it but this offense plays into Tannehill's strengths.

Changing Tannehill's drop distance won't be good for him. He already has 3,5,7 yard drops deep depending on routes. Trying lengthen or shorten his strides will get him thinking about something other than his reads.

You are correct that guys have to step up. This is an issue throughout the league as all teams have to deal with starters getting injured.

We, unfortunately, keep losing a Pro Bowl O Lineman each year. Its one thing for an average player to get injured but each team has certain players they can ill advised lose to injury. Brandon Albert is certainly one of those players.

If we weren't on such a short week, I would feel better about the O Line getting juggled around, but it is what it is.

avatar

Actually Miami right now is 11th seed..its how 3 team breakers work..Miami/Buffalo/San Diego..div play is first eliminator..Buffalo over miami..then its between Buffalo/San D..San D best buffalo...so San D is 9th..Buff 10th and Miami 11th seed at moment

avatar

@paul,
Yes, you are correct if the season ended today. So far the Phins have the least amount of losses in the Conference, Wild-Card or Not!
The Dolphins have had a make shift OL all season long considering what/who was there last year. WE CAN REBUILD IT!!
Chiefs; Ravens; Bills(if Orton holds-hasn't played a poor game yet & that is not representative of his career) & Dolphins. See ya to Bengals, Steelers, & Chargers.

avatar

@ Paul:

Good point! Had they won just 1 of the 2 games they gift wrapped to Green Bay & Detroit or beat an injury depleted Chiefs team AT HOME........

avatar

@Carl
I am more interested in changing the WR's. The DB's play to a spot & watch the QB's eyes. You change that by a 1/2 yard and he is going to be out of position. Option for Tannehill to change his drop; more about his arm making the adjustment. 49ers did it for years. Changing distances.

avatar

Everyone has different drops depending on how deep the routes run.

Its still timing and luck. Who knows how many big plays that could've gone for 6 had the pass knocked down at the line.

I think the WRs adjust each route slightly depending on how the CB lines up and hopefully the QB and WR are on the same page.

Our guys have been together a while now so I am sure any adjustments are being made by both Tannehill and WRs.

Lets win Thursday Night!!!

avatar

Tie Breakers work this way:
Head to Head
Division Record for teams tied in same division
Conference record for teams tied in same conference

Regarding San Diego...we got em
Regarding Buffalo...they have us NOW but if we win Thursday we will be way ahead as they go to Division record since we split and if that us tied then to conference record

Only 3 teams are ahead of us for the wild card:
KC who beat us
Cleveland and Cincinnati

If we all win out we sit home, if we win out then Cleveland and/or Cincinnati have to lose a game for us to get the 6 seed....doesn't matter what anyone else does...we have to win out and those two have to lose one game...everybody else: Pitt, Baltimore, Buffalo, San Diego, Whatever is in out rearview mirror due to head to head or division or conference record

avatar

It did not make sense to me how beating SD could just be wiped off the table because Buffalo beat us & SD beat Buffalo. I know that NFL.com shows us as 11 right now but that has to do with a couple teams not having a bye yet, and the Phins not playing as many Con. & Div. games so far, right, kinda'?
Ya' know what, I don't care if I have it written correct. I'm going with your final statement to me!

Lets win Thursday Night!!!

Phins Up!!!

avatar

Did you write that Buffalo was ahead? That can be fixed Thursday...

Miami can't afford to lose head to head matchups with other playoff teams. It starts this week. The days of bad starts and brain fart finishes must end Thursday.

A win against Buffalo will turn things around real quick.

avatar

Couldn't have said it better, linearz.

avatar

I would also like to say that I believe a lot of us, myself included, were wrong about Kevin Coyle. This is a top 3 defense.

avatar

I always liked Coyle.

Darren Rizzi is another story. Although our special teams are playing better, my jury is still out on him.