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Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Will Dolphins bring the intensity?

By James Walker

Misery loves company in the NFL. The Miami Dolphins learned that lesson the hard way in Sunday’s 19-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

The Bills (6-9) treated last week’s game like their Super Bowl. The Dolphins (8-7), who are in the playoff chase, failed to match Buffalo’s intensity, and it showed on the field. Miami was flat and didn’t make any plays in key moments.

Will Miami have another listless performance against the New York Jets?

The Jets (7-8) have nothing to play for other than the future of their head coach. Rex Ryan is in the hot seat after three consecutive non-winning seasons. The outcome of Sunday’s game may not matter, but Jets players proved in last week’s win over the Cleveland Browns that they’re playing for Ryan.

That means the Jets aren’t coming to Miami to take an early vacation.

"This was our AFC Championship Game," New York linebacker Calvin Pace said, according ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini. "We play our Super Bowl [next week] in Miami."

New York would enjoy the role of spoiler against its division rival, especially after the Dolphins essentially ended the Jets’ playoff hopes during a 23-3 victory on Dec. 1. The teams have split their season series the past three years.

The Dolphins still have a solid chance at making the postseason, despite laying an egg last weekend in Buffalo. They must win and have the Baltimore Ravens lose or the San Diego Chargers win. But the Dolphins must first show up ready to play Sunday and beat the Jets.

“We have to play our best game of the year on Sunday at 1 p.m. in front of our home fans,” coach Joe Philbin said. “We’ve got a great opportunity. We’ve got to go work and play our best game of the year.”