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Miami Dolphins

Will Dolphins repeat Bills nightmare week 17 playoff scenario of 2004?

Florida Football Insiders

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Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

With Buffalo coming to South Florida this Sunday in a must win situation for any chance at an AFC Wildcard spot, the Dolphins are in position to knock them out. First, you might be aware that the Bills are the only one of the “Big Four” U.S. professional sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) who have not made the playoffs in the 2000’s.

That’s right 1999 is their last post season appearance, and 18 years later they still need help. Even with a victory over the Fins Sunday, the Bills need either a Baltimore loss at home to the Bengals or if the Ravens win, they would need both Tennessee and the Chargers to lose their games.

So, it’s a long shot for Tyrod Taylor, LeSean McCoy and company, but there is hope.

Then again, if you study history, the Bills have been in this position before. The year was 2004 and Drew Bledsoe was their QB and all Buffalo had to do was defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers, who had already clinched a playoff spot, and the Bills were in the postseason.

Alas, Pittsburgh, while resting key players, still dashed the Bills playoff dreams on a dreary December Sunday in Western New York.

The episode was recapped Thursday morning on the NFL Network’s popular “Good Morning Football” program, as co-host Kyle Brandt recounted what happend 13 years ago with classic NFL Films footage, too:

As Brandt points out, the Bills took care of the Dolphins just two weeks ago keeping themselves alive and all but eliminating Miami, and all signs would point to them having a great chance to win.

All Brandt was saying, and he’s right, is: you better take care of your own “business” first. Don’t come into Miami fumbling the ball, committing penalties, missing tackles, etc. Be ready and play well.

Clearly, Miami has nothing to lose and revenge on their minds in this rematch at home.

We don’t know if the Ravens, Titans or Chargers in some combination will falter, but you don’t want the “ghosts of 2004” haunting you, again.

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Miami Dolphins

Gameday- Dolphins host Raiders looking to remain unbeaten

Florida Football Insiders

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Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Who:  Dolphins (2-0) vs. Raiders (0-2)

Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens

When: Sunday 1 p.m.

Spread: Dolphins by 3 (Courtesy Vegasinsider.com)

Miami has opened by winning the first two games for the first time since 2013 and now has a golden opportunity to get to 3 – 0 today. Here’s what we’re watching

Progression of Ryan Tannehill

Coming off a solid start by spreading the ball around to numerous receivers, Ryan Tannehill will look to keep it up. The Raiders defense is obviously reeling after the trading of Khalil Mack on the eve of the season, and Tannehill may be able to take advantage of the Oakland secondary.

Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson as the deep threats could do significant damage later today. Look for coach Adam Gase and coordinator Dowell Loggains to test them early.

Does Derek Carr follow up last week’s performance?

Oakland’s 5th Year quarterback was tremendous for much of the Denver game a week ago, completing 23 of his first 24 passes. With the Raiders getting acclimated to Jon Gruden’s new offense and terminology, it’s still obvious they want to get the ball out of Carr’s hand quickly with short throws.

Another part of Oakland’s offensive success is the early running of Marshawn Lynch, who is questionable for this game with an injured shoulder. They would like to set up play action with Lynch or backup running back Jalen Richard. If Miami can stuff the run, it will help greatly in stopping the Raiders attack.

Dolphins defense continues its optimistic play?

Whether it was surviving the two lengthy weather delays two weeks ago against the Titans with key sacks and takeaways, or last week in New York with frustrating rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, Miami has been able to make plays at times.

That needs to continue on Sunday. Safety Reshad Jones will be a game-time decision with his injured shoulder and that could affect their defensive scheme for coordinator Matt Burke.

If Miami’s pass rushers, Robert Quinn, Cameron Wake, Charles Harris, Etc can get to Carr it will make life easier at Hard Rock Stadium.

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Miami Dolphins

Jon Gruden’s returns to Florida already in coaching turmoil

Florida Football Insiders

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It may be premature to say that the “second honeymoon” for Jon Gruden with the Oakland Raiders is already over, but another defeat Sunday, and it likely is.

The Raiders are clearly struggling after dropping their second straight game last week in heartbreaking fashion against the Broncos in Denver. Oakland controlled most of the game and Derek Carr was outstanding, completing 23 of his first 24 passes on the day.

However, in the end Case Keenum rallied the Broncos and when Brandon McManus’ last-second field goal went through, the smirking critics of “Chucky” were already “sticking their chests out” about his NFL return.

Without question, some of this is self-inflicted, as Gruden clearly did not want to pay and therefore keep, linebacker Khalil Mack for the Raiders. And yes, they got a bounty of draft picks in return, but Mack has been nothing short of sensational as a pass rusher in two games in Chicago, and the Raiders defense is again mediocre-at-best.

So, that brings us to Sunday. And even though Gruden has been living in the Tampa Bay area while doing Monday Night Football for ESPN, this is the first time that he’s back coaching a game in the state since the final regular-season game of 2008. That day, ironically his Buccaneers lost to the Raiders completing a four-game losing collapse and costing his team a playoff spot-ultimately Gruden his job with the Bucs.

Now, the Raiders have come all the way East to Miami to play the 2 – 0 Dolphins. And while Gruden is in absolutely no jeopardy of losing his job, at least not until year 3 or 4 if it’s not working, owner Mark Davis didn’t make this shockwave multimillion-dollar hire to have the Raiders be one of the worst teams in the NFL.

Clearly, there was going to be some learning curve for Gruden with his new staff and new players. However, with a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback like Carr the belief was the Raiders would be solid, if not a wild card playoff contender.

It hasn’t shaped up that way as of yet.

The good news for Raider fans is: no one is going to outwork Gruden at trying to get it right.

The bad news is: the Raiders may not have enough overall talent to overcome that above-mentioned learning curve and digging themselves an 0-3 hole start 2018.

And the Fins, may be about to deal “Raider Nation” their latest lost Sunday.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins got contributions everywhere in Sunday win

Florida Football Insiders

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Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

There were a lot of questions and plenty of reasons to doubt the Dolphins roster makeup, as 2018 was  getting underway.

However, two games in, the Fins have been impressive, and earned their way to an unbeaten start. Their latest effort Sunday at The Meadowlands against AFC East rival Jets saw numerous players new and old step up.

Whether it was TJ McDonald’s early interception of New York rookie QB Sam Darnold, or Kenyan Drake weaving through the Jets front seven for the early score a short time later, Miami set the tone.

And then, when Kiko Alonso knocked the ball free from Jets receiver Robby Anderson and Raekwon McMillan recovered it, it was new free agent receiver Albert Wilson capitalizing here:

It went for a 29-yard touchdown from QB Ryan Tannehill and Miami had command at that point at 14-0.

Tannehill spread the ball around to seven different receivers, and even found reserve A.J. Derby for a 19 yard touchdown, as the lead ballooned to 20-0 nothing.

Darnold ended with some decent yardage and a couple of second-half touchdowns, but the Dolphins registered four sacks and had three total takeaways to help put this one away.

Even ageless veteran Frank Gore got into the act. This as, the 35 year old moved into fourth place on NFL all-time rushing list trailing only Hall of Famers Barry Sanders Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith.

And late in the game caught a dump off pass from Tannehill and weaved through the Jet defense to pick up 3rd and 19, move the chains and allow Miami to run the clock out.

So the 2018 Dolphins don’t have Jay Cutler, Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh and some of the others from a team that struggled last year.

However, their new faces stepped in and stepped up Sunday on the road.

And Miami is now 2 – 0 for the first time since 2013, and in sole possession of first place in the AFC East.

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