NFL Playoffs 2012-13: Miami Dolphins Chances at Making the Postseason

Devin NoonanCorrespondent IIINovember 7, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 16:  Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins hands off to  Reggie Bush #22 during a game against the Oakland Raiders at Sun Life Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins haven't made a postseason appearance since 2008 when a man by the name of Chad Pennington led them to the NFL playoffs.

They're coming off yet another disappointing loss last week, this time at the hands of Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, leaving them hovering once again at the .500 mark.

With half of the NFL season officially in the books, it's going to take a strong surge in the latter part of the year for this Dolphins squad if they hope to make a return to the postseason.

They currently sit just a game behind the New England Patriots for control of the AFC East, although their 4-4 record does leave them smack in the middle of the overall AFC standings.

As they continue to play from the outside looking in, they are going to need to close out some games in the second-half of the season if they hope to be playoff bound.

As far as the AFC East goes, they still have four divisional games left against the Bills and Patriots.

By winning just those four, they'd take the division title with a 5-1 record after already splitting games with the NY Jets earlier in the season.

I don't like their chances of taking down New England on the road in Week 17, but they could steal a game at Sun Life Stadium in Week 13 if their secondary can somehow find a way to contain Tom Brady.

I'd like to think that the Dolphins will emerge victorious in their two games against Buffalo, but anything can happen in their Week 11 meeting as both teams face-off on a Thursday night after just three days of preparation.

Even if they split games with both division rivals, it's still possible that the Dolphins can make the playoffs by raising their level of play against their remaining opponents.

When you look at the other four games left on the schedule, the Dolphins appear to have at least two relatively easy victories lined up.

This Sunday they face the Tennessee Titans, whose defense currently ranks dead last in the NFL allowing 34.2 points per game on average thus far.

The 3-5 Titans were able to squeak out wins against the Steelers, Lions and Bills, but I can't imagine them pulling it off against this continuously improving Dolphins team.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, who currently own the worst record in the NFL at 1-7, should be another easy win for the 'Phins Week 15.

To put it lightly—the Jaguars are a lost cause.

The Dolphins' other two non-divisional opponents, however, just so happen to boast top-five defenses at the midway point.

The chances of the Dolphins taking down the 49ers" target="_blank">San Francisco 49ers on the road is, to be frank, a long shot.

The 49ers tenacious defense, persistent rushing attack and talented receiving corps will be more than enough to squish the fish.

Combine that with Alex Smith's ability to minimize turnovers and manage games, it looks like a no-brainer in San Francisco.

The Seattle Seahawks game Week 12, on the other hand, is a different story.

Despite being 4-0 at home with the comfort of their "12th Man", they currently hold a 1-4 record when the team hits the road.

The Seahawks, who are also led by a rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson, still have some developing to do themselves.

Although their defense has proven to be a formidable foe—their scoring production has left something to be desired.

I can't guarantee a Dolphins victory here, but I can certainly say that it'll be a great, low-scoring game from two young teams on the rise.

All in all, if the Dolphins can continue to impress and improve on both sides of the ball, going 5-3 or even 6-2 to close out the season is by no means far-fetched.

With a 9-7 record, their playoff chances will likely rest on the performances of teams like the Steelers, Colts and Chargers as they fight for the final AFC Wild Card spot.

At 10-6, they may just secure a spot for themselves and potentially take the AFC East crown.