Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins started out the season well for a group not expected to compete at the highest level in the NFL. But, reality has started setting in for the Dolphins with a three game losing streak and a brutal trio of games upcoming.
The Dolphins were hoping to get through the last three games with at least a couple of victories. The Fins were playing a rebuilding Indianapolis Colts team, a Tennessee Titans team that had just been blown out, and the woeful Buffalo Bills.
Instead, the Dolphins went 0-3 through the stretch and went 10 quarters without scoring an offensive touchdown during the streak. The losses dropped Miami into a second-place tie in the AFC East with the Bills with both teams at 4-6 on the season.
That’s the best news for the Dolphins because over the next three weeks, the Fins face three of the best teams in the NFL. The Fins start the stretch with back-to-back home games against the Seattle Seahawks and division-leading New England Patriots.
The Dolphins may get a bit of a break against Seattle as the Seahawks ply their best football inside the friendly confines of their home stadium. But, Seattle’s defense has attacked all season long and beaten better teams than the Fins.
New England is always a tough fight for the Dolphins as long as the Pats have Tom Brady and the Dolphins aren’t breaking out the Wildcat for the first time.
Then, the Dolphins have to go on the road in the second week of December to play the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers were 13-3 last season and are 6-2-1 in 2012. San Francisco will likely be without quarterback Alex Smith this weekend, but he should be ready to go against the Fins by then.
The Dolphins could very well be 4-9 coming out of this three-game stretch and left to play for pride and keeping their jobs next year. What will be key for Miami over the rest of the season is the development of Ryan Tannehill.
The rookie quarterback started out the season well, but has been abysmal the last few weeks. Tannehill has thrown for 6 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on the season and will need to show improvement as the season winds down to give Dolphins fans reason to hope for next year.
One thing that did become clear for the Dolphins is the desperate need for a difference-making receiver. The Fins could use a true number-one receiver who can get down the field and command double-teams. The Fins may look for that player in the draft, via trade, or in free agency.
In the draft, the first receiver taken could be Keenan Allen out of Cal or Justin Hunter from Tennessee. Free agency could see Greg Jennings, Mike Wallace, and Dwayne Bowe all become available. Jennings has injury problems, while Wallace and Bowe have been distractions for both of their teams.