With the year 2021 upon us and 2020 looking at us in the rearview mirror (and I think speak for everyone when I say adios), fans of football teams across Florida might want to forget the end of last year - except for one team.
Yes, the Miami Hurricanes and Florida Gators both laid an egg in their bowl games to end the season on a sour note…and my FSU Seminoles and the FIU Panthers couldn’t even make a bowl game this season. But, if you’re a fan of the Miami Dolphins, you have quite a week left.
With a 10-5 record for the first double-digit win season since 2016, the Fins have a chance to do something they haven’t done since before that when they battle against a long time divisional rival who made history this season of their own.
Can Miami make it back to the postseason? Can Brian Flores solidify his resume for being a candidate to be the NFL’s Coach of The Year? Did the equipment team remember to pack the cold weather gear for Sunday?
At least two of those questions will be answered this weekend - and like we’ve done all season, we break it all down with NBC 6’s not-so-scientific ranking system.
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (Sunday)
For the Dolphins, it couldn't get any simpler: win against a Bills team that will, more than likely, play a lot of second team players after winning their first AFC East crown since 1995 and Miami is in the playoffs. Yes, there are other ways to make it in even with a loss, but a win sends them without a doubt.
Miami will be aiming to win their first January game since the 2015 season without the luxury of their quarterback "reliever" Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is sidelined with a positive COVID test. That means Tua Tagovailoa, who struggled last week agains Las Vegas, is going to have to do it himself to get win No. 11 for the Fins.
Other State Games
The close loss by Miami and the blowout defeat suffered by Florida this week means the state of Florida lost all their bowl games this season for the first time since 2015. South Florida will be on display Saturday night in the 87th Orange Bowl game when No. 5 Texas A&M takes on No. 13 North Carolina.
In the NFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Atlanta Falcons knowing a win has them opening the playoffs against the NFC East champs and not traveling to face Seattle or New Orleans. The Jacksonville Jaguars, who haven't one since Week One, end their misery of a season when they face the Indianapolis Colts.