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The Dolphins have been coming on lately, but an earlier loss to the Ravens has them stiff-armed out of a playoff spot. Miami is tied with Baltimore for the six seed in the AFC, but that loss has the Dolphins on the outside looking in for now.
Arizona has been playing as well as any team lately, but the Cardinals can't crack the NFC's top six. Fortunately for them, the Panthers stumbled in New Orleans last week, opening the door a bit for the Cardinals to sneak into the playoffs.
Will either of these teams get over the hump and into the driver's seat this week?
Miami has to beat New England this week, never an easy task no matter who is injured on that squad. Fortunately, the Dolphins do not have to travel to wintry weather for this matchup, though they have fared well in the cold the past couple of weeks.
Can Miami's defense take advantage of the injures that have decimated the New England offense?
Arizona has a bit of an easier time against Tennessee, but the game is on the road. That defense has been playing lights out in recent weeks, but losing Tyrann Mathieu is no small matter.
Beyond needing to win, of course, is the fact these teams need help to get into the playoffs. Baltimore and Carolina are ahead. The Cardinals hold the tiebreaker over the Panthers.