Despite Miami's problems against Houston, I don't have a problem making fun of them.
I only do it with the nickname I've bestowed on them: The Houston 8-8's.
Reason being of course is that it seems that NFL teams from Houston seem doomed to finish either 7-9, 9-7 or 8-8 (the average of 7-9 and 9-7).
And it doesn't help that it felt like the same thing happened with the Oilers when they were in Houston, followed by them moving to Tennessee and becoming the Titans where they went to the Super Bowl in only their third year there.
But this year things seem to be different.
They're the best team in a bad division, and the only one good enough (but not on the same level) as the AFC's Power Five of the Patriots, Steelers, Chargers, Ravens and Jets. (Once upon a time, when Peyton Manning was healthy and at quarterback, it was the Power Six with the Colts.)
What kind of a message would be sent if the Dolphins went out and beat Houston then?
On one hand, they're a potential division winner, and since they have an easier schedule than either of the teams in the aforementioned AFC Power Five, could sneak in and earn a first-round bye in the playoffs. (If they go 6-0 in their division, which is doable, at worst they're 11-5.)
But on the other hand, no matter what record Houston ends the season with, they're not New England, Pittsburgh, New York, Baltimore or San Diego. The only one of those teams I could see them beating in the playoffs, whether it's at home or the road, is San Diego.
Plus, if Miami wins, nobody will talk about the Patriots game being an aberration. Instead, they'll look at Houston and go "same old Texans, follow up a big victory with a defeat to a team they should've beaten easily."
But inside the Dolphins' locker room it will be different.
Beating Houston will send a message, even though it might only be an internal message, but a message nonetheless that Miami can compete with, at the very least, a second-tier AFC team.
Then maybe someone other than myself or the rest of the B/R Dolphins Featured Columnists will take notice of the win and talk about the Dolphins winning and not the Texans losing (assuming that will happens, of course).