The Miami Dolphins’ chances of making the playoffs were a long shot before they lost to the Patriots on Sunday. However, with wins by the Bengals, Steelers, and Colts, the chances of the Dolphins making the playoffs went from slim to virtually none. The Dolphins are currently 2 games out of the 6th playoff spot in the AFC, with only 4 games left to play. The biggest problem is that the Steelers and Bengals, each 2 games ahead of the Dolphins, play one another in a couple of weeks. that means one of them will get to 8 wins. If the winning team of that game goes 1-2 in their other 2 games, they get to 9-7…..and that, in itself, might be asking for too much.
Add to that the fact that the Dolphins would need to go 4-0, including wins over the 49ers and Patriots on the road, and you get the idea that the Dolphins playoff hopes for 2012 might have faded like a South Beach sunset. The fact that the Dolphins are probably going to finish the season 7-9 or so is disappointing. If that happens, it will be the 4th straight year they failed to reach the .500 mark. Really disappointing.
The Patriots clinched the AFC East division title with their win in Miami on Sunday, so the division race is over. However, the race for 2nd place heated up as the Jets and Bills both picked up wins last week. Here’s a rundown of the AFC East’s week ahead.
New England Patriots (9-3, 5-0 division)
Every year it seems like the Patriots have the division title wrapped up early. This year, they did it with 4 games left to play, which is impressive, even for them. For them to clinch this early speaks more to the sad state of the Jets, Bills and Dolphins than it does to the Patriots greatness. The Patriots are 5-0 against the AFC East, but just 4-3 against the rest of the NFL. We can only hope that changes in the next couple of years. The Patriots victory over the Dolphins wasn’t very pretty, but it’s a win they needed to keep pace in the race for the #2 seed in the AFC. This week the Patriots welcome in the Houston Texans and will attempt to make a run at the #1 overall seed. (cont’d on page 2, click below)