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2 posts from December 20, 2013

December 20, 2013

Playoffs: Dolphins could be in or out this weekend

Most of the playoff scenarios I've been sharing with you are about good news: If the Dolphins do this or that they make the playoffs.

There's even a scenario under which the Dolphins can make the playoffs this weekend. If they beat Buffalo and both Cincinnati (vs. Minnesota) and Baltimore (vs. New England) lose, the Dolphins are in the postseason.

But there is a flip side to that.

The Dolphins can also be eliminated from the playoffs this weekend.

If Baltimore beats New England while Cincinnati beats Minnesota and Oakland beats San Diego ... and the Dolphins lose to the Buffalo Bills ... it's over for Miami. The Dolphins would not qualify for the playoffs regardless of what happens the final weekend of the season.

Yes, there are scenarios in which the Dolphins lose and still get in -- assuming the Bengals and Ravens don't both win. But that gets more complicated.

Bottom line: Dolphins win and the other two (Baltimore, Cincinnati) lose and the Dolphins are in. But the Dolphins and San Diego lose and the other two win, the Dolphins' playoff chances are done.

Most Dolphins walking wounded will be playing

If you believe the injury report, you'd say the chances of cornerback Brent Grimes and running back Daniel Thomas playing against the Bills on Sunday are poor.

Neither one practiced Wednesday nor Thursday. Grimes is nursing a groin injury, Thomas the ankle that forced him to miss a couple of games a few weeks ago.

Well, I'd tell you it is not quite as dire as what the injury report suggests.

Firstly, the Dolphins Thursday injury report is a farce. The Dolphins do not practice on Thursdays this season. So the report the team releases is a guesstimate of what would have happened if they had practiced -- and about 98 percent of the time this year it has simply been a repeat of the Wednesday report. So I dismiss that thing as soon as it comes into my email inbox.

Secondly, Grimes continues to insist he'll ready to go.

"I'm feeling good, I'm feeling good," he said. "I'm doing what I have to do (with treatment) to make sure I'm feeling right for the game. I feel real good right now."

Grimes was at practice again Friday. He will travel with the team to Buffalo. Barring a setback, expect him to be available against the Bills.

Thomas ... that's a little trickier.

He's not 100 percent. He's managing some pain and swelling. His outlook doesn't look quite as rosy as Grimes's outlook.

As for the remainder of the walking wounded, Paul Soliai (ankle), Chris Clemons (knee/hamstring) and Nolan Carroll (knee) -- the most worrisome of that group is Carroll. And yet all expect to play on Sunday.

Long snapper John Denney missed practice today. It is unclear why at this point.

[Update: Thomas is the only player listed as questionable for Sunday's game. Carroll practiced full Friday and is probable. Grimes is probable. The reason Denney missed practice is because he's ill. I'm assuming he won't go AWOL soon.]