The Miami Dolphins are in the thick of the AFC Playoff race and the season is basically on the line against the Baltimore Ravens. With that in mind, Joe Philbin is trying to keep his players’ focus on the upcoming game on Sunday because the Ravens will be enough of a challenge without all the other distractions.
“We have seven wins now. We’ve talked to them more so about the month of December and the importance of each and every game in December. This one that we have coming up, Baltimore, both on paper and on film, is as good as team as we’ve seen. They are in the top 10 in scoring defense and scoring offense. They are aware. There is a lot of stimulus out there that they can tap into that their generation is more used to tapping into than mine, but really we have some things (to focus on). It was a great team win last night. There are a lot of things we are going to come back, buckle down and go to work. It is great to be coming home and playing a home game this weekend.”
Realistically, the Dolphins will need to win at least four of the next five games to have a shot at making the playoffs. If they lose to the Ravens, the tiebreaker will come into play when figuring out the final standings. Philbin understands this but again, is trying to keep the focus on the Ravens.
“Yeah, we’re going to have our hands full with this one. We’re going to have to play extremely well. We’re going to have to play better than we did on Monday night against this team coming in, without a doubt. We haven’t gotten that far. The focus is going to be more on, how can we get better? How can we improve? How can we play an outstanding football game Sunday at one o’clock? If we take care of that stuff, all the other things, I don’t want to them to get bogged down with tie breakers and this and that. I told the team, I think what happens in December a lot is sometimes you get caught up with what the other teams are doing. We need this team to do that, we need this team to do that and you start losing focus on what you have to do.”
With all that said, Philbin said that it’s December and when December hits, it’s time to play the best that they can possibly play.
“It’s an important football game. You have to distinguish yourself in December from the competition. This is some stiff competition coming into our stadium on Sunday. Baltimore both statistically and on film is an excellent football team. It will be a great challenge for our guys.”
The Dolphins have a slight advantage as they are playing in Miami but that’s about it once the ball is kicked off. This is their season and the outcome of the game will go a long way towards determining what happens after Week 17.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs