Overcome with holiday spirit and good cheer, I offer here a flagrantly rose-colored view of why Dolphins fans — once in the postseason — should not be satisfied with a one-and-done run, but instead should be optimistic.
This is not to start a Super Bowl chant, but to make the case that everybody in the AFC playoffs will have flaws and that Miami, on its day, can beat anybody. Consider these six teams, five of which would be in the playoffs with Miami:
• Denver: Its losses have been to the Colts, Patriots and Chargers. Miami beat all three this season. Denver’s defense has allowed 372 points, most by far of any AFC playoff team.
• New England: Miami lost at the Pats 27-17 (after dominating the first half), then won here 24-20.
• Cincinnati: The Dolphins beat the Bengals 22-20.
• Indianapolis: The Dolphins beat the Colts 24-20. Indy is 3-3 in its past six games.
• Kansas City: Chiefs lost to San Diego. Miami beat the Chargers 20-16. The Chiefs’ D has given up more plays of 20-plus yards than any team in second half of season.
• Baltimore: Miami lost to Ravens 26-23 when the Dolphins missed a last-minute field goal. Baltimore would be only playoff team to score fewer points on the season.
None of the above is beyond beating, not even Peyton Manning’s Broncos.
This little bouquet of optimism has been a holiday gift from me to you.
Here’s how it is entering Week 16:
AFC: In — Broncos, Chiefs, Colts. Six alive for final three spots, with postseason likelihood via makenflplayoffs
.com — Patriots 98.46 percent, Bengals 79.78, Ravens 63.21, Dolphins 56.39, Chargers 1.58 and Steelers 0.58. Comment: Despite computer model, Miami would clinch playoffs by winning its final two games, which it is favored to do.
• NFC: In — Seahawks. Nine alive for final five spots, with postseason likelihood via makenflplayoffs.com — Saints 96.83 percent, Panthers 87.52, 49ers 87.51, Eagles 62.58, Bears 53.17, Cowboys 37.42, Packers 34.36, Cardinals 28.14 and Lions 12.47.
• Seahawks are now alone as Super Bowl favorite at 9-4 (via Bovada), with Broncos at 13-4 and 49ers 15-2. Manning is a ridiculous 1-55 for MVP; you get the field — everybody else — at 7-1. Panthers’ Luke Kuechly is a 2-1 pick for defensive player of the year.
• Here’s why I call it King Sport: NFL games have been 30 of the 31 most-watched TV shows since Labor Day. The lone exception, ranking 20th: NBC’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
• Denver, with a 38.2 scoring average and 68 touchdowns, could break NFL records held by the 1950 L.A. Rams (38.8) and 2007 Patriots (75).
• The five TDs scored by Chiefs’ Jamaal Charles last week were only one off the NFL record. Only three men to score six in a game: Ernie Nevers (1929), Dub Jones (1951) and Gale Sayers (1965).
• Bears’ Zack Bowman and Browns’ Tayshaun Gipson last week were first opponents since 1965 to have two interceptions and a return TD in same game.
• The total points scored two weeks ago (859) and last week (844) rank 1-2 in highest-scoring weeks in league history.
• Ravens kicker Justin Tucker’s 33 field goals in a row is fourth-longest streak ever. Record is 42 in a row by Mike Vanderjagt from 2002 to ’04.
• In a nod to expected snowy weather in Jersey, this coming Super Bowl Media Day will be the first not held at the stadium, but indoors at the nearby Prudential Center.