If only the Vikings’ Mike Zimmer waited one more week to shake things up in Minnesota, maybe the Dolphins would have better control of their playoff fortunes.
Instead, the Dolphins walked into a buzz saw, falling victim to a reworked and re-energized Vikings team, 41-16.
The loss left the Dolphins a game behind a trio of 8-6 teams vying for the final AFC wild-card spot with two weeks to go. With most of the tie-breaking scenarios tilted toward the others, Miami needs a miracle to make it to the postseason.
Tennessee and Indianapolis play each other in Week 17. That means at least one has to lose this week and then beat the other just to create a tie. Baltimore currently owns the tiebreaker. They also have a chance to take their division. In most scenarios, that means the Steelers fall behind the pack.
That all assumes the Dolphins win out against the Jaguars and Bills.
That hasn’t stopped Adam Gase from preaching about the Dolphins’ destiny and pending surprise playoff berth. He’s been doing that all season and every time we stop to act bemused, something happens to put Miami right back in the thick of things.
Jacksonville has no such delusions. Despite the horrific offensive results with Cody Kessler behind center, the team will not reinstate Blake Bortles. Rumors are also swirling of disenchantment with Doug Marrone’s managing of the team, specifically the lack of discipline shown on and off the field.
It’s a remarkable turn of events after last season’s strong playoff run.
Injuries and notes
Leonard Fournette saw reduced time last week and is listed as questionable with a foot injury. Fournette says there was a game plan to give rookie Brandon Wilds more touches and he denied an injury.
Josh Lambo is also questionable with a groin pull, as are both safeties and both offensive tackle for the Jaguars.
Miami listed cornerback Xavien Howard and safety TJ McDonald as questionable.
Doug Marrone went from being the totally vindicated ex-Buffalo coach and toast of Northern Florida to sitting on one of the hottest seats in the league. It is no secret Tom Coughlin demands discipline from his players, and Leonard Fournette’s recent antics surely have him in the doghouse. But Coughlin offered no comment to rumors that he might replace Marrone in 2019.
Adam Gase was expected to need a playoff appearance and a performance from Tannehill that justified the coach’s faith in him. Injuries derailed Tannehill. While credit should be given to Gase for keeping the Dolphins in the hunt with Brock Osweiler, Miami writers are not expecting that to be enough to bring him or Tannehill back next season.
How to watch the Jaguars-Dolphins game
CBS Sports will feed this game to most Florida markets Sunday, which means fans down there can watch the live stream action on DirecTV Now.
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Who will win the Jaguars-Dolphins game?
This game is expected to draw a light crowd on the weekend before Christmas. Doug Marrone can only hope his players show up in a better playing mood than they showed last week.
Adam Gase might be going down, but his troops will continue to fight for him and hope for a Christmas playoff miracle.