Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC East [Print without images]

Thursday, December 10, 2009
Under Sparano, Fins are Decemberists


If the Miami Dolphins are going to make a late-season run at the playoffs, the weather won't be as much of a factor for them as it will be for other clubs.

The Dolphins play their next two games in Jacksonville and Nashville before finishing the regular season with a pair of home games against Houston and Pittsburgh.

The Dolphins have a reputation for not being able to win in cold weather, illustrated by the fact they're 13-29 in December road games since 1988 and have only four winning records in December since 1993.

But the Dolphins have shown they can win in December under coach Tony Sparano.

After knocking off the New England Patriots on Sunday in Land Shark Stadium, the Dolphins are 5-0 under Sparano in December.

In a do-or-die situation every week at the end of last season, they went 3-0 on the road in December to win the AFC East title on a tiebreaker. They caught a break when the Buffalo Bills moved their game to Toronto and into the comfy confines of a dome.

But the Dolphins had to close out the season with road victories over the Kansas City Chiefs (kickoff temperature of 10 degrees) and the New York Jets (kickoff temperature 65 degrees, believe it or not).

What does all of this mean? Maybe the sampling is too small to indicate anything, but the Dolphins do seem to have an all-weather mentality. They're one of the NFL's best rushing teams and are slightly above average at stopping the run. Quarterback Chad Henne has played in the elements.

Again, weather might not play a factor down the homestretch, but either way it looks like the Dolphins are ready.