The Dolphins enter their BYE week in excellent shape with a 7-3 record good for 1st in the AFC East. The Bills lost last week to the Minnesota Vikings in OT to fall to 6-3, while the NY Jets had their BYE week and are also 6-3. The New England Patriots were also on their BYE week last week and are last in the AFC East at 5-4. This is a very competitive division, and at least at the moment, my early predictions that the Jets may overtake the Patriots is true at the moment. The Jets and Patriots have a showdown this Sunday in Foxborough at 1PM. This is a huge divisional game, they all are really. If the Jets can beat the Patriots in their house the Jets could move up from the #6 seed and give them a 3-1 division record as well as a 6-3 conference record. It would be better for the Dolphins if the Patriots win but I like the Jets in this matchup.
In Week 12, when we return from our BYE week, we play the Texans at home at 1PM. It’s possible, we can have some familiar names back in the lineup, but as of now, nothing is certain. I would think at a minimum that OL Austin Jackson should be back, but odds are he would just be in the rotation, not starting, RT Brandon Shell has played well and OG Robert Jones looked just fine at LG. DB Byron Jones has not yet been activated off of the IR and there have been no indications that he will be. Still, that remains a possibility. The rest must surely be appreciated by all players but especially LT Terron Armstead who has played brilliantly for us this season despite having a painful toe injury and has been the LT we have missed since, well, Laremy Tunsil. Also, guys like Keion Crossen and Kader Kohou can hopefully get healthier and make that secondary more whole.
The following week we have a difficult game against the SF 49ers in San Francisco. It will be a homecoming for RB’s Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, as well as WR’s Trent Sherfield and River Cracraft. After the Niners we stay on the left coast to play the AFC West LA Chargers. After those 2 road games, we finish up our road trip back on the right coast to play our division rival Buffalo Bills. Our last 3 games of the season feature 2 home games, one against the visiting NFC North Green Bay Packers, then a battle in Foxborough against the Patriots and then back home for the season finale against the NY Jets.
I feel like we need to stay healthy, first and foremost, and if we succeed in doing that, keeping #1 and all of his weapons healthy, we can play with anyone. Our defense is starting to play better, and hopefully the more Chubb practices our defense, the better he is, and he makes everyone else better too. Phillips is already seeing results, and that should continue. LB Brennan Scarlett is now healthy and should be back with the team. This is the time to make our run. Finish strong and we should be near the top in the AFC. If we take care of our division rivals and possibly take down the Bills a second time, and sweep the Pats and split with the Jets, we should be AFC East Champs. That of course won’t be easy but just the fact that I can now type this and not feel like it’s ridiculous at all is quite pleasing to me. We’re a good team, a high flying offense, and Jeff Wilson has added another dimension to our offense. We’re a legitimate rushing threat with Wilson and Mostert. The pressure is off Mostert now, he’s never been a high volume carry guy, so he can stay fresh and give a nice punch when Wilson is out. I know some of you think Byron Jones will never suit up and play in a Dolphins uniform this season, I’m still holding out hope. I have no idea what kind of shape he’ll be in and if he can even help us, but he’s always been a solid cover corner, and what team couldn’t use thew boost of getting a player back of his caliber healthy and fresh near the end of the season? Let’s hope!