Jan 4, 2024 - News

Desperate dolphins need win in regular season finale

Jalen Ramsey reacts as he leads the Dolphins huddle prior to Miami's game against the Baltimore Ravens on December 31.

Jalen Ramsey and the Fins defense couldn't keep Lamar Jackson in check. Photo: Michael Owens/Getty Images

The Dolphins are headed back to the playoffs, but its path to a Super Bowl looks a bit tougher heading into the biggest game of the season.

Driving the news: Miami must beat the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night to win the AFC East and earn home-field advantage for up to two playoff games.

  • If Miami loses to Buffalo — as it has in its last four matchups — it will have to play the reigning Super Bowl champion, the Kansas City Chiefs, on the road to open the playoffs, per the Miami Herald.
  • The Dolphins have struggled in away games against playoff teams under head coach Mike McDaniel, including a blowout loss to the Baltimore Ravens last weekend.

Why it matters: The Dolphins haven't won its division in 15 years. The team hasn't won a playoff game in 23 years.

The intrigue: After months of media hype, expectations are high for the team with the NFL's highest-scoring offense and an HBO camera crew following them for the in-season docuseries "Hard Knocks."

  • Miami has made the playoffs two straight seasons under McDaniel, but the franchise carries the weight of mediocrity spanning two decades.

What we're watching: Season-ending injuries to key defensive players Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb mean Miami will be far from full strength during the regular-season finale Sunday.

  • Cornerback Xavien Howard and wide receiver Jaylen Waddle are also unlikely to play Sunday with injuries.
  • Wide receiver Tyreek Hill is a long shot to break the NFL's single-season receiving record of 2,000 yards. He would need a herculean 238-yard outing to do so.

Game time: 8:20pm at Hard Rock Stadium. Broadcast on NBC and Peacock.

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