MIAMI (CBMiami) — One could say it’s gotten late early for the Miami Dolphins. While it is only week 4 of what is now a 17 game NFL regular season, this week’s home game against Indianapolis looms large.

The Dolphins are 1-2 and play in Tampa against Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers next week. So, you get the idea, a home win versus the Colts isn’t a must win, there aren’t any in week 4, but it’s a game the Dolphins realistically have to have.

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Onto the quick hits.

If you figure 11 wins is needed to make the playoffs, the Dolphins are in decent shape at 2-2, with a win on Sunday. However, a loss would make the sheer numbers daunting. It would likely take a run of 10 wins in the remaining 13 games to reach the post season. That’s a tough spot to be in.

Tight end Mike Gesicki #88 of the Miami Dolphins is tackled by inside linebacker Cory Littleton #42 of the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of a game at Allegiant Stadium on September 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

One of the Dolphins’ best offensive weapons is tight end Mike Gesicki. After a quiet start to the season he emerged, especially late in the game against the Raiders, to help the Dolphins mount the comeback. Having him be a focal point of the offense will be key this week.

There were certainly struggles again in Las Vegas in short yardage situations. The Dolphins have tried many different ways to convert, but it is really up to the offensive line to push that line of scrimmage.

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Say what you want about the loss to the Raiders, but the Dolphins showed the character of their team when things looked bleak. As a team, they showed some terrific fortitude to give themselves a chance to win that game. It shows the culture Coach Brian Flores has established.

Defensive coordinator Josh Boyer proved he will dial up blitzes at any time last season. That has continued into this season but perhaps teams are expecting it a little bit more. Offenses have adjusted their blitz pickups and have done a better job against the Dolphins blitz. But Boyer is a very smart coach, and likely will now counter with some new wrinkles.

Quarterback Jacoby Brissett #14 of the Miami Dolphins throws a pass during the NFL game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on September 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Indianapolis’ visit to Miami on Sunday is only their second trip to South Florida in the last 12 seasons. The key matchup pits Dolphins quarterback Jacoby Brissett against the Indianapolis defense. He knows the Colts well and vice versa, because he spent the last four seasons in Indianapolis.

Legendary coach Don Shula, who coached the Colts and Dolphins in a 33-year career that saw him win more games than anyone else in NFL history, is being honored by Miami this weekend. Shula died in May 2020, and the pandemic kept the Dolphins from any public celebrations of his life until now.

The Dolphins and Colts kickoff at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday on CBS4, your official Dolphins television station.

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Steven "Goldie" Goldstein