AFC East is up for grabs, Dolphins begin Jets week (take 2)

The Dolphins are in a good spot in both the division and the conference, but they have to put together a winning streak.  A couple of weeks ago, we laid out the Dolphins road map to the playoffs.  They completed the first step, beating the Rams to get to 3-3 entering the bye week.  Now, they’ve got to win 3 of their next 4 and it starts this week against the Jets.  After the Jets, the Dolphins go to Indianapolis, host the Titans, and go to Buffalo.  That’s 4 games in 18 days and these 18 days will go a long way towards determining if the Dolphins are a playoff team or not.

In terms of the division, the Jets game is very important.  Not only could a win by the Dolphins put the Jets season on life support, BUT it would also give the Dolphins a much needed divisional win.  The Dolphins are currently 0-1 in the division, while the Patriots are 2-0.  It’s early to start thinking about tie breakers for the postseason, but these mid-season games are the ones that you look back on later and realize just how important they are.  The Dolphins need a win on Sunday in New Jersey. Period.

The Patriots are going to get their wins, they have the soft part of their schedule coming up.  They play the Rams, Bills, Colts, and Jets before making a trip to Miami.  They might very well go 3-1 in those games, getting them to 7-4.  Although, the Patriots just don’t seem like the Patriots we’ve come to know and hate.  They’re making crucial mistakes are critical times.  Fumbling a kickoff return late in the 4th quarter?  Blowing double digit 4th quarter leads over and over again?  The Patriots are vulnerable and could stumble.  So the Dolphins have to capitalize.

The Jets host the Dolphins next week, then travel to Seattle and St. Louis in consecutive weeks before hosting the Patriots.  Their upcoming schedule will determine their 2012 season.  A loss to the Dolphins and they might throw in the towel.  The Bills?  Are they really a threat in the division?  They have a bye this week then travel to Houston, followed by a trip to New England, host the Dolphins, and a trip to Indianapolis.

These upcoming schedules lead me to believe that the Jets and Bills are facing an uphill battle.  But who knows, at this point 1 game separates first place from last place.  The Patriots aren’t playing like the Patriots and the Dolphins aren’t playing like the same old Dolphins.  This division is truly up for grabs and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.  For now, the Dolphins have one thing and one thing only to worry about……Jets week!

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