Why Miami will make the playoffs

A strong defense and effective coaching lead the way for the Dolphins

Updated: December 4, 2013, 10:41 AM ET
By Herm Edwards | ESPN Insider

As we head into December, several NFL teams are fighting for the two wild-card spots in the AFC. But the race is really only for that final playoff berth, because even after three straight losses, the 9-3 Kansas City Chiefs are the overwhelming favorites to land the No. 5 seed. And that leaves two teams well-positioned to get the No. 6 seed: the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins.

Even though Baltimore holds the tiebreaker thanks to a 26-23 win over Miami in Week 5, I like the way the Dolphins are playing right now, and I believe they'll make the playoffs on the heels of strong coaching, a good defense and an offense that understands its limitations.

Joe Philbin's coaching job

I can't say enough about the job that Philbin has done to right the ship after the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin incident. That episode extended far beyond football and brought about a national discussion on bullying, a discussion that is still ongoing. As a coach, all that you can control is what goes on in your locker room, and Philbin believed he had a strong enough group of players that could hold up under the media scrutiny and not fall apart. He was right.