Before the Miami Dolphins can even ponder the thought of reaching the playoffs, they must go to Jacksonville and defeat the 7-5 Jaguars, who hold the final AFC Wild Card spot. A victory over the New England Patriots was crucial last week, but a triumph over the Jags could be the beginning of a magical run.
It might not have been the way Miami pictured it, but the Dolphins find themselves in control of their fate once again. This time they are likely in search of a Wild Card berth instead of an AFC East Championship, nevertheless a shot in the playoffs is something every team thrives for.
We delve into some key facts that could predict what plays out in Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon:
In Favor of Miami
- Miami is now 6-2 when scoring 21 points or more in a game and Jacksonville is currently ranked 22nd in points allowed, giving up 22.8 points a game this season.
- QB Chad Henne is coming off his best statistical game of his career after going 29 of 52, foe 335 yards and 2 TDs. Look out for the Dolphins to continue to test his arm and give him more pass attempts against the 24th ranked Jaguars pass defense.
- In the last four games, WR Davone Bess is averaging 12.9 yards per reception. Bess broke out for 10 receptions, 117 yards and 2 TDs versus the Patriots last week.
- Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew has averaged 72.3 rush yards per game in the past three games with only one touch down in that stretch. Miami is only allowing 107 rush yards per game this season.
- Ever since becoming the starter, RB Ricky Williams has averaged 103 rush yards per game and has scored 4 TDs.
- Last week Miami's defense recorded its first scoreless 4th quarter of the season. Prior to that game, they allowed 49% of opponents' total combined points to be scored in the final quarter.
- Two of Jacksonville's key players are doubtful for Sunday's game: WR Mike Sims-Walker and CB Rashean Mathis.
In Opposition of Miami
- The Dolphins are 2-4 on the road this season, allowing 25 points per game in their four away losses.
- Miami's turnover differential this season stands at -2, having forced 16 turnovers and given up 18 turnovers.
- The Dolphins will have to go another game without C Jake Grove taking snaps. It will be Grove's third game sitting out, which thins Miami's offensive line even more.
- Miami has not faced many mobile quarterbacks this season, but struggled with the mobility of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in Buffalo as he ran for 50 yards and 1 rushing TD on 7 attempts. Jacksonville QB David Garrard is known for using his legs.
- Former Dolphin TE Ernest Wilford caught a TD pass last week and may look to replicate his effort against Miami. Miami has not had much luck facing former players (i.e. Wes Welker, just to name one of many).
- The Jaguars have win four of their last five games and are excelling at home with a 5-1 record, despite the record-low attendance and constant TV blackouts.