Will Miami Stick It To Stoda?

Can The Fish Go Post?

It's a slow news day. So slow that all three big dailies' web sites are headlined by a double fatality on Sunday on Donald Ross Road in Palm Beach County. That's to be expected. But it wasn't completely slow at the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, and Palm Beach Post over the weekend. The Herald was at the center of one of the bigger stories on Friday, the storming of its building by toy-gun toting cartoonist Jose Varela. The Sentinel was marked by a post-Jake Scott column by Dave Hyde. The Scott story was so surprisingly good, I thought it might mark an upward turn in Hyde's usually dull and boneheaded copy. I was wrong. The lede: "Facilities, schmacilities."

I mean, who couldn't help but to read on after clever word play like that?

Sticking with sports coverage, Hyde's counterpart at the Post, Greg Stoda, had a slightly more interesting lede for his column this morning. To wit: "The Dolphins aren't going to make the playoffs."

Every Dolphin fan has to admit they've been entertaining the idea. The Fins, without a doubt, have been the best team out there the past month. Kuechenberg's magic seems to know no bounds. And it looks like Nick Saban's teams do the exact opposite of his predecessor Dave Wannstedt's -- they start sluggish and finish strong instead of

starting on fire and winding up all wet. The former is definitely more desirable than the latter. Stoda rests his pronouncement on the idea that Miami would have to win their last four games -- which include dates with powerhouses Indy and N.E. -- to make the postseason.

That may not be true. If the playoffs were announced today, Kansas City and Denver would be the wild cards. They're 7-4. At 5-6, the Fins are two games behind them with five games left. If they tie K.C., the Fins go to the playoffs because they beat them earlier this year.

Also ahead of the the fish are Cincy, Jacksonville, and the Jets, at 6-5. If Miami beats Jacksonville next week and the Jets two weeks after that, they vanquish them, leaving only Cincy to deal with. The Bengals have a brutal schedule remaining, starting with Baltimore Thursday and followed by games at both Indy and Mile High.

So if Miami makes a strong late-season push, I think it really rests with K.C. If the Chiefs go 2-3 and Miami goes 3-1, Miami is likely in. The odds of that happening are, granted, slim since K.C. -- with Larry Johnson-led Chiefs look very strong right now. But a late season spin-out at Kansas City isn't unheard of.

If Miami pulls off the unlikely and wins out, it's almost a lock. And that is possible -- as is a 2-2 finish, which would doom them. Point is Stoda's probably right. But he might not be, and, in my experience, when columnists make a categorical statement like that, the sports gods like to go out of the way to prove them wrong.

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