Football

Do The Miami Dolphins Have What it Takes?

ALLEN EYESTONE / THE PALM BEACH POST

The Miami Dolphins recent success is a warm surprise for many football fans. Coming off of their biggest win of the season, things are trending up as the playoffs loom. With Tua Tagovailoa now healthy, a defense clicking on all cylinders, and a favorable schedule coming up, they may be well equipped to punch their ticket into the postseason. However, let’s take a closer look on how these factors will play out the rest of the season.

The Quarterback

Tagovailoa has had his ups and downs in the early stages of his NFL career. Last season he struggled in the shadow of Ryan Fitzpatrick and wasn’t ready to be the face of a franchise. However, when Fitzpatrick was traded to Washington in the offseason, it opened Tagovailoa up to take the starting job. To much of the organization’s dismay, the Alabama product hasn’t been able to stay on the field much this year. Just weeks into the season, he was offset by a rib injury that had him out for three games. 

When he returned in week six, he delivered a star performance throwing over 300 yards and two touchdowns. The game after, he sustained that momentum and torched an Atlanta Falcons defense for four touchdowns. While Tagovailoa’s stellar play still resulted in losses, it was a step in the right direction.

Last week Tagovailoa was bothered by a thumb injury. But that didn’t stop him from subbing in and making some clutch plays to upset the Baltimore Ravens. Coming off that win, it appears his injury is behind him as he participated in full on practice Thursday. 

If there is a time to prove why you deserve to be there, it’s now. A month ago Tagovailoa was lamenting not feeling wanted by the organization amidst the rumors of Deshaun Watson’s signing. Now, there is no external reasons to be playing anything less than spectacular. Tagovailoa’s talent and improved health should carry the team into the next four games to compete for playoff contention.

The Defense

On the other side of the ball, the Dolphins defense have shown glimpses of its 2020 form. Standout players like Xavien Howard and Andrew Van Ginkel are wreaking havoc for opposing offenses. To do it against a team like Houston was easy. But to also replicate that effort against the Ravens speaks volumes of their potential. Sometimes all it takes is some confidence and a win to right the ship. If the defense can retain their scrappy play, the ascending unit will be a nightmare when it matters most. 

Plus Schedule

Realistically, it might seem like an easy path moving forward. However, the next four games are virtual must wins. On Sunday they will travel to New York to take on the Jets. After that, they are tasked with beating the Panthers, Giants, and Jets again in Miami. If they can pull that off, they are well capable of sneaking out a win against the Patriots or Saints. The margin for error is extremely low and the team will have to go 6-1 in the last seven to reach the playoffs. It’s a tall order for a team that has dug themselves a huge hole. But all signs are pointing towards Miami taking off, and this could be the turnaround they needed to achieve something special. 

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