In My Opinion

Greg Cote: Miami Dolphins can make a playoff run

 

gcote@MiamiHerald.com

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.

PLAYOFF PICTURE

Here’s how it is entering Week 16:

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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.

SCATTER-SHOOTING

• 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.

Read more Greg Cote stories from the Miami Herald

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Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, left, and center Chris Bosh watch from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, April 16, 2014 in Miami. The 76ers defeated the Heat 100-87.

    IN MY OPINION

    Greg Cote: Dynasty or dismantling for the Miami Heat?

    A Heat playoff run is the annual gift we slowly unwrap together, our two-month emotional thrill ride ever since LeBron James grandly announced he was “taking my talents to South Beach” that summer night in 2010. Well, buckle up again, South Florida. Prepare for exhilarating highs and work-productivity lows. Prepare for late nights walking drained from the downtown bayside arena. Prepare for hearts to soar or plunge on whether a basketball swishes through a nylon net or bonks off a painted rim.

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Charlotte Bobcats' Al Jefferson, left, drives past Miami Heat's Shane Battier, right, to dunk during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014.

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    Miami Heat sweep would challenge rosy outlook by Bobcats’ Al Jefferson

    I think that Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson, not a star in the NBA but a good player, must lead the league in seeing the bright side, in trying to find the best in a bad situation. This talent figures to come in particularly handy in the next week-plus as his hopeless underdogs try to avert being swept in four games by the two-time, defending-champion Heat.

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LeBron James cheers as he holds both trophies after the Heat won Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida on Thursday, June 20, 2013.

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    Greg Cote: Element of doubt makes this Miami Heat quest intriguing

    This time it feels different, doesn’t it? The Heat in the Big3 Era always has found a way to keep things fresh and keep us fascinated, and now that means trying on a role unlike any the team has played in the previous three seasons. This time, for the first time since LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade, Miami enters a postseason seeming a bit vulnerable — something close to the unlikeliest of underdogs.

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