Mired in disappointing campaigns, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins will face off on Sunday.
The good news is that one of them has to win. C'mon, there can't be another tie this season, can there?
The Dolphins are 5-8 this season and have lost their last two games, but they've actually played better in their last three games, beating the Seattle Seahawks and playing the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers tough.
There isn't much good to say about the Jaguars this season. They are 2-11 and have lost to the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets the past two weeks.
Here's a look at the AFC matchup.
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL
When: Sunday, Dec. 16 at 1 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NFL Game Pass
Betting Line: Dolphins -7, Over/Under 37 (via ScoresAndOdds.com)
What's At Stake?
The Dolphins aren't mathematically out of the playoffs, but they are going to need a lot of help. The Jaguars have no chance of making the playoffs this season, but we've seen teams throughout the years finish strong and rise the following season. Both teams are looking for momentum heading into next year.
Injury Report (via USA Today)
DE George Selvie - Concussion - Questionable
RB Rashad Jennings - Concussion - Questionable
CB Aaron Ross - Leg - Questionable
WR Cecil Shorts - Concussion - Questionable
RB Maurice Jones-Drew - Foot - Questionable
LB Clint Session - Concussion - OUT indefinitely
QB Pat Devlin - Hip - Questionable
What They're Saying
The Dolphins are bordering on historic mediocrity. With one more loss this season, the franchise will "clinch" its fourth consecutive losing season. The last time Miami had four straight losing seasons was from 1966-69.
Even the special teams unit, which was once a strength, has let down the team, as the Sun-Sentinel pointed out.
The past four weeks have not been kind to the unit. The Dolphins allowed a 79-yard punt return touchdown against the Bills and a 98-yard kickoff return touchdown to the Seahawks, mishandled a snap that turned into a Patriots touchdown and fumbled a punt return that turned into a 49ers touchdown.
Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey was hospitalized on Monday for an undisclosed condition, per Adam Schefter of ESPN, but he has since been released and has rejoined the team.
Jaguars Player to Watch: Cecil Shorts, WR
After sustaining a concussion in Week 13 and missing Week 14's game against the Jets, Cecil Shorts has been cleared to play on Sunday, according to Mark Long of the Associated Press.
Shorts, the Jaguars' leading receiver, was sorely missed against the Jets, as Chad Henne had to manage with Kevin Elliott, who was simply awful.
The Dolphins are easier to beat through the air than on the ground. Shorts has racked up 824 receiving yards and seven touchdowns this season. He is averaging 19.2 yards per reception, the second-best mark among qualifying players in the NFL.
Dolphins Player to Watch: Ryan Tannehill, QB
It hasn't exactly been the most uplifting of rookie campaigns for Ryan Tannehill. He's averaged 6.84 yards per pass attempt (23rd among qualifying quarterbacks), tossed eight touchdowns to 12 interceptions and doesn't have a star receiver to throw the ball to.
The Jaguars can be beat through the air, allowing 7.4 yards per pass attempt (21st in the NFL). This is Tannehill's chance to bounce back at home.
Key Matchup: Jaguars Passing Game vs. Dolphins Pass Defense
The Jaguars have averaged 16.6 points per game this season, 30th in the NFL. If they are going to score in this matchup, Chad Henne and Cecil Shorts must have solid games. Given what we've seen lately, that doesn't seem very likely.
Prediction: Dolphins 24, Jaguars 10
The Dolphins have beaten just two teams (Oakland Raiders and New York Jets) by double digits this season. Consider this the third time they will do so. Despite all of Miami's problems, the team has played well recently and against much tougher opponents than the Jaguars. Jacksonville lost by double digits to the Bills, then lost to the listless Jets.
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