The Dolphins season is at a breaking point, and a loss Sunday would be the final karate-chop that shatters it into a million aqua pieces. Coming off a complete stinker of a blowout loss to the totally beatable Kansas City Chiefs at home last week, Sunday's game in London against the Oakland Raiders would be a devastating blow to the team's playoff chances. When the season started, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone pointing to the Week 4 Raiders game as a must-win, but here we are.
So much rides on the Dolphins performance Sunday, and much of it is far more important that making the playoffs this year.
1. The schedule the rest of the way is daunting.
The worst part of the Dolphins early season collapse is that it has come during what was the easy stretch of their schedule, from here on out things get much more difficult. Even the trip to Jacksonville in Week 8 could be sneaky tough, because by then the Jags rookie quarterback Blake Bortles should be much more comfortable. The Dolphins weak secondary will face Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Jay Cutler, Phillip Rivers, Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco, and Matthew Stafford after this week -- that's not going to be easy. If the Dolphins find themselves in a 1-3 hole entering their bye week, digging out of it against that gauntlet of elite quarterbacks doesn't seem likely.
2. If the Dolphins lose to the craptastic Raiders, Joe Philbin is a goner.
A loss Sunday might as well be the final nail in Joe Philbin's coffin. For a coach that already was on the hot seat entering this season, a 1-3 start could mean his off-season is closer than he anticipated. Regardless of when it happens, losing back-to-back-to-back games early in the year to the Bills, injury depleted Chiefs at home, and the laughing stock of the NFL Oakland Raiders, is a sure-fire way to guarantee you'll need to dust off your resume after this year.
3. A loss Sunday could mean you never see Ryan Tannehill in a Dolphins jersey again.
Whether you agree with it or not, a loss Sunday could be the end of Ryan Tannehill in Miami. While it doesn't make much sense to me bench Tannehill for a veteran-journeyman-totally-average Matt Moore, you can bet the first person Joe Philbin will push under the bus will be his young quarterback. Tannehill has regressed this year to the point that he looks nothing like a franchise quarterback, and reports are even though he will start this week, the Dolphins did consider sitting him down after last weeks loss. The bye week is the perfect time to switch starting quarterbacks because the Dolphins will have two-weeks to get Matt Moore snaps with the first team. If the Dolphins lose Sunday, as dumb as it may sound, Ryan Tannehill in Miami could be a wrap.
4. A loss Sunday would send the Dolphins fan base back into their disinterest cave.
Miami Heat media day is today, a Dolphins loss would signal a "hear we go again" season is upon us, and completely ctrl-alt-del all that excitement that fans had entering the season. With the Miami Hurricanes laying an egg on the same field Saturdays, and the Marlins season over, the Dolphins had a chance to really capitalize on the South Florida fans attention being directed their way, but instead, would be proving to them once again why they can't believe in this franchise with a loss to the Raiders.
If Tannehill isn't the answer in Miami, then the Dolphins should just fire everybody. They're in complete rebuild mode.— B. Spiegel (@knicks148) September 22, 2014
5. Add up all those things above and it means another total-rebuild is around the corner weeeeeeeeeeee, fun!
As much as you might not believe this Dolphins team is of Super Bowl quality, at least it is 50% there. OK, maybe 35%, but still, it's not in the infant stages of construction. A loss Sunday would send the franchise one step closer to dynamiting that entire deal and doing it all over again, something Dolphins fans are tired of. If the QB gets benched, the coach probably gets fired. If the Coach gets fired, you need a new coach. If you need a new coach, he probably wants a new GM. If you need a new GM, he probably wants a new everything. Yeah, that's not exactly exciting to think about. While it might be the smartest thing to shred this team and start over, it's just a hard sell to fans right now.
The Miami Dolphins take on the Oakland Raiders in London at Wemberly Stadium Sunday, kickoff is set for 1:00PM.