Miami Dolphins (+7.5)* at New England Patriots
Is that it? Is Miami done?
After the Dolphins’ home loss to the Ravens, Miami has likely fallen behind too many teams — really, too many tiebreakers — to regain a foothold in the AFC playoff race. While they remain far more capable of earning a Wild Card berth than a division title — the Dolphins would need to win out while the Patriots lose the rest of their games — the biggest roadblock on the path to a 10-6 record remains their rivals from New England.
Miami set the world ablaze when the season opened 15 long weeks ago and the Dolphins pulled off the Opening Day upset of the Patriots. From this loss stemmed the belief that the Patriots may be reaching ‘the end,’ a popular, yet confounded thought. Certainly, New England has shown the propensity to take such opportunities for revenge and enact them mercilessly. But, despite their recent struggles — two losses and a field goal win against the Jets – the Dolphins are no pushover.
Even when facing some of the league’s elite — Green Bay, Denver, and an early version of New England — Miami refused to bow out without a fight. Excluding Week 14, Miami had not lost any game by more than a touchdown since Week 3. The Dolphins’ 15-point defeat at the hands of the Ravens was, therefore, a long time in the making.
Now, it is behind them. As is any opportunity to stumble. Miami’s road to the playoffs must go through Foxborough, and, anchored by a top-ten defense, will take the Patriots to the wire in the Dolphins’ final push.
In the end, it won’t be enough to win. Miami loses by a field goal, but beats the spread.