NFL Wire News

Dolphins shooting for a winning season


DAVIE, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins are 7-7 and still have a chance for a winning season if they can beat both the Minnesota Vikings (6-8) and the New York Jets (3-11).

The Dolphins haven’t had a winning record since 2008, when they finished 11-5. That also was the last time they made the playoffs.

“Winning two games means something,” defensive tackle Jared Odrick said. “Finishing 9-7, if we get to the playoffs, will mean something. Finishing 9-7 and not going to the playoffs doesn’t mean a thing.”

The Dolphins probably will be viewed as the favorites in both games, largely because they’re home games against teams of equal or lesser talent.

Coach Joe Philbin is 14-8 in his two-plus seasons against teams that finished worse than .500 the previous two seasons or are worse than .500 this season.

The problem is Philbin is 8-16 against teams that finished better than .500 or are better than .500 right now.

It’s not known whether a winning season would save Philbin’s job.

The Dolphins haven’t had much going right for them in December. They’re 1-2. The run defense has been trampled. The offense has scored three touchdowns in three games. And special teams had a blocked field goal returned for a 62-yard touchdown last week against the Patriots.

It’s almost been a total system failure in the past three weeks. Even in the 16-13 victory over the Jets, Miami allowed 277 yards rushing.

Still, players are trying to maintain their competitive edge.

“I don’t feel deflated,” Odrick said. “I feel like there is still something to play for. Like I said, we’re on a team that’s .500, and if you don’t believe that you’re .500, you have to go out there and prove it.

“We’ve got two more games to do that, to put it on film, for our fans and to the NFL, who we are and what we’re about, and that we don’t believe that we’re a .500 team. We’ve got two games to prove that, and that’s what we’re going to do in these last two games.”

SERIES HISTORY: Miami leads 6-4. The Dolphins won the last meeting, 14-10, in 2010, as Vikings quarterback Brett Favre threw three interceptions and the Dolphins stopped Minnesota on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line late in the game. The most well-known meeting between these teams was Super Bowl VIII when Miami won 24-7. Running back Larry Csonka was named MVP after rushing for 145 yards.

NOTES: Missing practice Wednesday were RT Dallas Thomas (foot) and RB Daniel Thomas (knee). … Among those limited were LB Jelani Jenkins (foot), LB Jonathan Freeny (hamstring) and TE Charles Clay (hamstring).

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