Eight Key Matchups That Will Determine the Dolphins' Playoff Chances

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Eight Key Matchups That Will Determine the Dolphins' Playoff Chances
(Photo by Al M

It’s 3:50 pm on Sunday afternoon.

I realize that this quiet time in front of the computer analyzing stats and taking notes will soon be interrupted with the echoing whistles and crashes from the TV and the groans and cheers of my loved ones.

That’s right; it will be football season again.

The quiet happiness I am languishing in now is nothing compared to the boisterous excitement that surrounds me beginning the second week of August. Both times make me happy—but in drastically different ways.

It’s time to store up for the season, get all the finalized stats into my head before the unpredictability of the new football season begins. Last year absolutely put my head into a spin, all around the NFL.

As I sit and peruse the 2009 Miami Dolphins schedule, I am thrown back a year into the past where I find myself reliving the moments of that fanatical season.

There are always specific details I can remember; since in our home football rules our lives. It even interrupts our plans to engage in the sport.

Aside from actually attending games at the stadium formally known as Joe Robbie Stadium, we always try to get outside and throw the pigskin around. In this case, it’s a junior-sized football, since it’s easier for me to throw.

I can distinctly remember last year there being a few Dolphins games that really interrupted our between-games activities.

My husband is not a Dolphins fan, but who can resist rooting for a local station team to win in the last fragile moments of a tight game?

As I was reviewing the schedule this Sunday afternoon, these memories got my wheels turning.

Game five against the Chargers following a huge win in New England got this team motivated, but it was the nail biters at Houston, Seattle, Oakland, and San Francisco that kept me glued to the TV when I wanted to be outside throwing around the 'ol pigskin.

A lighter schedule last year brought this team to the playoffs; but the four wins that were determined by five points or less last year were against teams that did not make the playoffs.

A heavier schedule this year against rejuvenated AFC East rivals should be the biggest obstacle for the Dolphins.

The battle here is not necessarily between Miami and its own schedule. Other teams in its division have easier schedules and may be able to capitalize to push Miami out of contention.

The AFC had six teams in 2009 with 11 or more wins, while the NFC only had three teams with 11 or more wins.

There is definitely more of an even playing field in the NFC, and I would bet the Dolphins would fare well against this division.

However, this is the AFC, where you have to bring your A-game.

Here's my take on the key games Miami MUST win to get back to playoff glory.

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