It’s no secret that Thursday night’s game against the Buffalo Bills is one with playoff like implications. If the Miami Dolphins lose, their chances of reaching the postseason will become slim to none.
If they win, they will still be alive in the playoff race with more elimination type games to come as the season gets closer to the end. That’s why the Dolphins have bunkered down and have been preparing ever since Sunday evening when they go on the plane.
“We got the game plan in,” Joe Philbin said. “It’s obviously a short week. Guys came in Monday and Tuesday, so they have the entire game plan. Now, we’ve got to kind of let that sink in, get another two days before we line up and kick it off. It’s a very important game. I said to the team in the locker room after the game in Detroit that it is an AFC East game. It is the middle of November already. It’s hard to believe. If you want to be a great football team, you have to play great in your division. This is a big game. It’s a big division game. It’s a home game. You have to play well.”
Philbin also told the team that there are no more excuses at this point in the season and the team just needs to go out on the field and make plays and execute to the best of their ability. For Lamar Miller, who may not play on Thursday, it’s a chance to make sure the younger guys know how important this game is.
“It’s a division game. Every game from here on out, we’ve got to make it count. Everybody just has to do their assignment, we’ve got to prepare better. We played them a first time, so we pretty much know their personnel, but we’ve just got to come out and play football. Every guy in this locker room knows how important this game is. We just have to come out, prepare, it’s a short turnaround. A lot of guys have to prepare better and just get ready.”
Mike Pouncey, who will be dealing with the ferocious Bills defensive line, said that every game in November, regardless of the year, is a playoff game.
“In November, every game is a playoff game. We’ve had that approach since this month started. We know how critical every game is towards the end of the season. This is going to be one of our biggest ones of the year obviously. We’ve got to go out and we’ve got to play really well in all three phases of the game. Any time you play a rivalry game, the intensity is very high. It seems like everyone plays a little bit harder, a little bit faster. The best thing about is the short week, so we’ll be on the field playing against each other in no time.”
Ryan Tannehill said that they need to overcome this hurdle to get where they want to go, which is a spot in the AFC playoffs when the calendar turns to January.
“It’s a division game. It means a lot. Every game means a lot, but division games obviously mean a little bit more. After the way we played last time and having a chance to redeem ourselves at home, it’s a big game for us. We’re in the second half of the season. It’s coming down to winning games. We’re in a conference where a lot of teams are playing well right now. There is still a lot of football in front of us, but we have to play well.””
Jamar Taylor, one of the young ones that Miller was referring to, said he understands the significance of the game. Taylor will have a starting role opposite Brent Grimes with Cortland Finnegan out with an injury.
“It’s really important. They beat us the last three times. It’s a division game. We want to win. We want to do great things this year, but it starts on Thursday. We are looking at it as we have to get that one win, 1-0, and we will just build off of it. Every game is important in the NFL because you never know what is going to happen. You see great teams get knocked down and you see teams people count out win. We just look forward to every game as a big game and just try to go out there and put our best foot forward.”
The game on Thursday though is much more important than any of the ones they have played so far this year because if they don’t come out with a victory, their season – for all intents and purposes – is over.
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