Miami Dolphins Make The Playoffs

Eitan Greenberg, Sports Editor

For the first time since 2016, the Miami Dolphins made the playoffs. The Dolphins, who finished the regular season with a 9-8 record for the second straight year, secured their spot on Sunday with an 11-6 victory over the New York Jets and a New England Patriots loss to the Buffalo Bills, 23-35. 

The Dolphins, finishing with a 9-8 regular season record, lost five games in a row, needing either New York or New England to lose to prevent a stunning collapse. They struggled for several reasons, including poor defensive play and a concussion to Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who had been having his greatest season yet, up until he suffered the injury in a loss to the Green Bay Packers on Christmas Day.

Injuries have been a headliner for the Dolphins. Early in training camp, Cornerback Byron Jones suffered an injury leading him to not play this season. Defensive Backs Nik Needham and Brandon Jones went down early on, and Edge Rusher Emmanuel Ogbah, who recently re-signed to a four-year deal, sustained an injury midway through the season. 

Until a tough week 13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Dolphins managed to hold their own. However, as the schedule became more difficult, so did winning games.

“For the past several weeks, the problem has been injuries, mainly Terron Armstead on the offensive line dealing with multiple injuries and Tua (Tagovailoa) recovering from concussions,” Miami Palmetto Senior High School senior Jacob Harris said.

Despite the losing streak, the team managed to make its way into the playoffs as the seventh seed in the American Football Conference. Their first-round matchup will be against the #2 seed Buffalo Bills and will take place at Highmark Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 15 at 1:00 p.m. 

The odds are against the Dolphins, who had a win and loss against the Bills during the regular season, with ESPN analytics giving the Dolphins a 13.8% chance to win. 

According to a recent announcement, Quarterback Tagovailoa will not play due to his concussion and Offensive Tackle Terron Armstead is doubtful to play. Armstead has been dealing with a toe injury the whole season, while Tagovailoa is still in the second stage of concussion protocol. Additionally, it is uncertain if Dolphins Running Back Raheem Mostert will play after he broke his thumb in the win against the Jets. Rookie seventh-round draft pick Quarterback Skylar Thompson is in line to start the game for Miami. 

“The Dolphins should approach this game against the Bills guns blazing, and play nonconservative football because they really have nothing to lose with Skylar Thompson under center and we will not win with the conservative game,” Harris said.

Like many Dolphins fans, Harris predicts Buffalo will win in blowout fashion.

The Dolphins have not won a playoff game since 2000, and hope to snap that streak this week in Western New York.