There has been a lot of talk about Sunday's game being an elimination game. Whoever loses will find themselves all but eliminated from playoff contention and will have a nearly insurmountable challenge ahead of them to still have a chance. Surely, there is credence to this line of thinking. It's incredibly important for both teams that they win on Sunday, because it will almost guarantee them a place in the playoffs.
That's a very daunting position to be in for any team. But for the Miami Dolphins, they aren't letting this challenge intimidate them or change their mindset. They've been talking all year about making sure they take it one game at a time, and a psuedo-playoff game against the Ravens isn't changing that.
“It’s just another game. 1-0 is the mentality. It’s another game, it’s another football game where it’s a game that you have to win at all costs. Another week in the NFL where you’re going to have a good football team against another good football team and I think, the way we’re built, everybody’s kind of ready to go, ready to accept that challenge." said defensive end Cameron Wake. "We’ve had a lot of challenges in the past few weeks, whether we’ve sealed the deal or not, it’s built that character, it’s built that confidence for us to go out and approach this game the same way.”
Wake has been in this position before. Last season, the Dolphins were in a position where all they had to do was take care of their own business and defeat the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets in their last two games. Instead, they lost, and allowed the San Diego Chargers to take the final wild card spot when they really had no business making it to the playoffs.
Running back Lamar Miller has also been in this situation before, and he recognizes the gravity of the situation just as much as his Pro Bowl teammate Wake.
“I feel like this is a playoff game, from here on out, we’ve got to take one game at a time." said Miller. "We control our own destiny. We just have to come out and do what the coaches have been telling us throughout the whole week and just play football.”
The Dolphins do indeed control their own destiny at this particular moment. As of now, they are in possession of the final wild card spot in the AFC, and all they have to do to keep it is just keep winning their games. Starting on Sunday versus a very physical Baltimore Ravens squad.
"We’re going to go out there and just play just to keep score and then, when it gets tight, we’re going to put our all in. You put your all in from the first game to the last game, first play to the last play. You treat every play and every game like it’s the game. That is the way the NFL is." said Cameron Wake. "As we’ve seen and you go back six, seven weeks in the season and say, ‘Oh, I wish we would have back then, I wish we could have two plays ago.’ You put your all in 100 percent on every play. At the end of the day, everything else will take care of itself."
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater