Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s Random Evidence: November four-game stretch will define Dolphins’ season

When it comes to Dolphins playoff hopes, for better or ill, November will be the month to remember.

It might be the month that dismembers if Miami can’t find a way to win at least twice and ideally three times in this tough four-game stretch that starts here Sunday against San Diego.

The Chargers, then at Detroit, Buffalo here and at Denver (oh my) makes it four in a row against winning teams that are a combined 22-9.

Getting ready for this stretch by playing sad Jacksonville is like preparing to run a marathon by eating Cheetos.

Miami’s offense, especially, must be better than in last week’s win.

“We’re not going to get nowhere like that,” noted receiver Mike Wallace, drawing a grammatical flag for the double negative but otherwise on point.

Typical of Miami’s luck, the Fins, 4-3 after two wins in a row, have picked a bad year to be pretty good. Eight AFC teams have a better record and two others have the same record. That puts Miami in an 11-team mosh pit fighting for six playoff tickets.

The computers at makenflplayoffs.com put the Dolphins’ playoff chances at 34.3 percent — and that’s before the four-pronged November challenge.

In other team news, Dan Marino has been working with quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Marino is now a Dolphins “special advisor.” Hopefully, he has advised the team to survive November.

▪ A belated happy Halloween, all. Did you go trick or treating? I did. I dressed up as an aging sports columnist who hopes the plummeting newspaper industry outlasts his own ebbing career.

▪ Honesty test. Raise your hand if you had Norris Cole outscoring LeBron James in each one’s NBA season opener.

▪ Major decisions face two Miami sports stars as UM’s Duke Johnson will weigh whether to return for his senior season, and Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton will decide whether to sign a long-term deal. I wish I didn’t feel like good news was the betting underdog with both men.

▪ The Panthers, entering Saturday’s hockey game, had won three of the past five games. Grading on a scale, that’s a hot streak.

▪ Only two more races before Nov.16 NASCAR finale at Homestead. Can’t wait for an exciting day of feuding drivers, intentional wrecks, pit-row shoving and, time permitting, a good race.

▪ Bill Parcells has a new autobiography out that details his various accomplishments in football. I assume his time with the Dolphins gets, what, a whole paragraph?

▪ The Jets are starting Michael Vick because of Geno Smith’s interceptions. Looking to Vick as a solution to your turnover problem is like hiring an obese chain smoker as your personal trainer.

▪ The Cleveland Browns’ new team slogan: “Play Like a Brown.” Hmm. Does that mean don’t make the postseason for 12 years and don’t win a playoff game since ’94?

▪ Philadelphia center Jason Kelce said “Jesus Christ himself” couldn’t stop the Eagles offense. Really? “Who do you think is making Nick Foles throw all those picks?” said a grinning Jesus.

▪ It was Florida-Georgia on Saturday in “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” I know why Gators fans drink. The idea is to black out, wake up in 2008 and still be cheering for Tim Tebow.

▪ Canes men’s basketball plays an exhibition Thursday against Eckerd and opens regular season Nov.14. UM is predicted to finish 10th of 15 teams in the ACC. Probably not the sort of top 10 ranking fans had in mind.

▪ The Breeders’ Cup was Saturday in California, for those of us who like to fake a passing interest in horse racing even thought we only care about the Triple Crown races.

▪  I Googled “waste of money” and saw that Alex Rodriguez, turning 40 in July, still is owed $61 million by the Yankees over the next three seasons.

▪ Miami hosted a 70.3-mile Ironman Triathlon, with 3,000 participants biking 56 miles, running 13.1 and swimming 1.2. I can cover 70 miles in my car in one-fourth that time — and arrive fresher.

▪ Pembroke Pines native Shayne Gostisbehere of the Flyers became the first born-and-raised South Floridian to play in NHL. He will not be mentioned again here, because his name is way to tough to spell.

▪ The 55th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show ends Monday, featuring the world debut of the Benetti Veloce, a 150-foot super-yacht costing $46 million. I like it so much, I bought two.

▪ Jose Canseco is recovering after shooting himself in the hand. He has previously spent most of his post-playing career metaphorically shooting himself in the foot.

▪ University of Louisville recently began drug-testing its cheerleaders. The suspicion is PEDs: Perky-enhancing drugs.

▪ I read this headline in the Herald: ‘Grandmother, 34, accused of leaving kids to gamble.’ Umm, I wonder if ‘Grandmother, 34 …’ maybe starts to explain the problem?

▪ Fox Deportes now carries NASCAR races in Spanish. NASCAR previously had been broadcast in only two languages: English and Redneck.

▪ Parting thought: Rick Scott or Charlie Crist as our choice for governor. Is God still punishing the state of Florida for that whole “hanging chads” mess?

Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote and also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Hot list

Today: Dolphins winning streaks. As Miami seeks a third consecutive win Sunday vs. San Diego, here are Fins’ longest same-season win streaks in the 14 years since the club last won a playoff game in 2000:

Streak

Year (Games)

Starting quarterback

6

2005 (11-16)

Gus Frerotte 5, Sage Rosenfels 1

5

2008 (12-16)

Chad Pennington

4

2003 (2-5)

Jay Fiedler

4

2006 (8-11)

Joey Harrington

4

2008 (7-10)

Chad Pennington

Note: There have been eight three-game win streaks, most recently games 12-14 in 2013 with Ryan Tannehill.

What South Florida sports fans are talking about:

1. DOLPHINS

Miami hosts Chargers seeking third win: Dan Marino was still a Pitt Panther and the Chargers QB was Dan Fouts when San Diego last won in Miami — that famous 41-38 overtime game on Jan.2, 1982. Bolts have since lost seven in a row here. Of more concern to Fins: Getting their two-game winning streak to three.

2. HURRICANES

UM stays hot vs. visiting North Carolina: UM beat ACC rival Tar Heels in a Saturday afternoon homecoming game, Team had ceremony honoring former Hurricane quarterback great Jim Kelly. He requested a victory by The U. Hopefully the Canes were hospitable enough to oblige.

3. HEAT

NBA season opens happily for Miami: Heat opened season with a home win over Wizards in which Chris Bosh had 26 points and 15 rebounds. One night later, Cleveland fans were disappointed after an opening loss in which LeBron James shot only 5 for 15 and had eight turnovers. “Pinch me,” Miami fans said. “I must be dreaming!”

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Arguing begins as rankings make debut: The first College Football Playoff rankings had Mississippi State, FSU, Auburn and Ole Miss as the top four. I trust the CFP committee featuring Condoleezza Rice. I just hope her intel on football is better than her intel was in ’03 on those Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

5. BASEBALL

Giants deny Cinderella Royals: No offense, Madison Bumgarner, but I think San Francisco’s third title in five years was something only a Giants fan could love. It answered the question, “Is it possible for a World Series to go to a Game 7 that ends 3-2 with the tying run on third and still think that World Series was boring?”

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