Hope and concern: Dolphins and playoffs

December, 2, 2013
12/02/13
12:30
PM ET
The Miami Dolphins (6-6) picked up a huge 23-3 victory over the New York Jets (5-7). The victory provides Miami an inside track on the final wild-card spot in the AFC with four games remaining.

Here are reasons to be hopeful and concerned about Miami’s playoffs chances:

Reason for concern: Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens (6-6) currently hold the sixth seed in the conference -- and that’s a problem for Miami. The Dolphins lost a 26-23 home game to the Ravens in Week 5. You had a sense at the time that game could come back to haunt the Dolphins and that is currently the case. As long as there are just two teams with similar records, the head-to-head tiebreaker prevails. Baltimore beating Miami could be a problem.

Reasons for hope: Manageable schedule

Miami's schedule down the stretch is manageable. The Dolphins’ four remaining opponents have a combined record of 23-25 (.479 winning percentage), which is not overly intimidating. The Dolphins will play three teams with losing records: the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7), Buffalo Bills (4-8) and Jets (5-7). Miami also has a rematch against the tough New England Patriots (9-3) at home. The Patriots beat the Dolphins, 27-17, in their first meeting in Foxborough. The Dolphins will have to win at least three of these four games to get in. If they just beat the three teams with losing records, the Dolphins have a shot. The Ravens’ final four opponents have a .574 winning percentage.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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