- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Miami Dolphins finished their roller-coaster season with an 8-8 record. But there were plenty of highlights during their season, which includes a string of quality victories against tough opponents.
Among those highlights were three impressive victories against the remaining teams in the AFC Divisional playoffs. Next week, the Indianapolis Colts (12-5) will travel to play the New England Patriots (12-4), and the Denver Broncos (12-4) will host the San Diego Chargers (10-7) for a chance to advance to the AFC Championship Game.
Here is how Miami fared, game-by-game, against the final four teams in the conference this season:
Week 2: Dolphins beat Colts, 24-20
Week 8: Patriots beat Dolphins, 27-17
Week 11: Dolphins beat Chargers, 20-16
Week 15: Dolphins beat Patriots, 24-20
Miami fared well against this season’s playoff teams in the AFC. The Dolphins also beat the Cincinnati Bengals (11-6), who lost in the wild-card round.
This is evidence that the Dolphins were not that far off this season. However, Miami’s fatal flaw was playing down to its competition. The Dolphins also suffered ugly losses to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12), New York Jets (8-8) and twice to the Buffalo Bills (6-10) that could have made a difference.
Although Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is expected to make some changes soon, those who remain will face playoffs-or-bust expectations in 2014. A big part of getting over the playoff hump will be Miami playing to its potential every week -- and not just against quality opposition.