When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
For the Miami Dolphins, they’ve had enough time with the interim head coach Dan Campbell to know that these games they play in each week are only for the tough at heart. If the Dolphins want to take advantage of their schedule and start living up to expectations then they need to start accumulating some AFC East wins. The Dolphins haven’t been able to win the AFC East since 2008 when they went 11-5 and lost in the AFC Wild Card Playoffs. Those goals, in particular getting the AFC Wild Card spot, are goals that the Dolphins are still aspiring to get to.
The bad news is that the Dolphins have already lost half of their AFC East division games to every team in the division. They’ve been destroyed in al of their matchups against the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and the New England Patriots. The good news is that all of those games are done and there are three more games against AFC East foes remaining. What’s even better is that the Dolphins start the second half of their remaining AFC East games this Sunday against the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo, New York.
— NFL (@NFL) October 25, 2015
A win against Buffalo is very important because with just one game the Dolphins could go from being last in the AFC East and catapult all the way to the No. 2 spot. Right now the Dolphins are only one game behind the New York Jets in the standings and they’re on a two-game losing streak. Their next game is a home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and then they’ll have to play against the Bills themselves on a short week playing in the NFL’s weekly Thursday night matchup.
The Dolphins need to win against Buffalo because a loss would certainly put them in the type of hole that is nearly impossible to climb out of. Now, being four games out of first place is a very difficult situation in itself, but the Dolphins still have an opportunity to fight and get it right. Rebounding from a thrashing on the road in Foxborough, New England is tough. Going out and winning in another cold city, perhaps, even colder in Buffalo, New York takes resilience. The Dolphins don’t operate well when they are under pressure but ever since Campbell has taken over, the pressure has been there the entire time for their team to play well and, for the most part, they’ve responded.
The only way that the Dolphins will win against the Bills is if they hand the ball off to Lamar Miller and keep pounding the rock down the Bills throat. Against the New England Patriots, the Dolphins only had nine carries and mostly because they had to play from behind and chuck the ball down the field more than they would like. Against Buffalo, the Dolphins need to make sure that they don’t fall behind and have to play catchup.
One of the toughest pieces of adversity that the Dolphins will have to overcome is the loss of one of their best players, defensive end Cameron Wake. The Pro Bowl defensive end suffered a season-ending Achilles’ tendon injury against the Patriots and it’s a devastating blow to the Dolphins talent.
After the game against the Patriots, Campbell said this about Wake’s injury.
“It’s real big. Like I said yesterday, Cam is a very, very productive player for us and he is one of our captains, one of our team leaders, guys look up to him and it’s gonna hurt. It’s gonna hurt. Now what I would say is this, we are fortunate to have a guy like Derrick Shelby who can step into that role and help us out there among others. But it’s a big loss. He’s gonna be missed.”
Now that the Dolphins will have to look to Derrick Shelby at defensive end, this team should still be rolling because of the pressure that Ndamukong Suh creates. Even though this year is only getting tougher, the Dolphins will start to get going, otherwise it’ll be another disappointing year for the Dolphins.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey.