There are some sports records that are likely never to be broken. Joe Dimaggio’s 56 game hitting streak is one and the Miami Dolphins seven game winning streak and losing streak in the same season is the newest.
What is even more amazing about Miami’s streak is that the losses came first, dropping seven straight decisions after their opening day win in Foxboro over the New England Patriots. It would be more understandable that a team got off to a quick start and then got hit with key injuries and went down the tubes.
But to endure a first half of the season with losses to the likes of the Jacksonville Jaguars, on a neutral field, and the Atlanta Falcons in Miami before their Halloween double-digit loss in Buffalo gave little evidence of a turnaround this season. But, since that last day of October defeat to AFC East Division rival Buffalo, the Dolphins have been perfect.
While most of their wins have come against teams that are not in contention for a playoff spot, the likes of the Houston Texans, New York Jets, Carolina Panthers, New York Giants and last week catching the New Orleans Saints forced to start a rookie quarterback, the Dolphins have nevertheless strung together a winning streak that moves them into legitimate playoff hopes. It is also significant that even while Lamar Jackson was healthy, the Dolphins shut him and his Baltimore Ravens down for the second of their seven straight wins. If they do crack the postseason field, they will be the first team to ever do so while enduring a seven game losing streak.
Another record that would probably never be matched.
So, who do the Dolphins play this week?
The Tennessee Titans.
Good spot or not?
The Titans have struggled on two fronts this season. The first is the loss of their leading rusher, Derrick Henry, who was the key to the Ryan Tannehill run offense. Since he went down with an injury that is expected to keep him out until at least the playoffs, the one time bulge in the standings that had the Titans securely at the top of the AFC South Division standings has been cut to one game over the Indianapolis Colts. That division lead is enhanced based on the Titans twice beating the Colts this season, which means if the two teams end with equal win/loss records the division title lands in Music City based on the first tiebreaker which is head-to-head competition.
The second, and perhaps just as important to the Dolphins prospects this week, is that the Titans have had trouble in recent weeks in tough motivational spots. This is a team good enough to take advantage of a good spot, like the one they enjoyed last week for their home win over the San Francisco 49ers, but a team that is not good enough to survive a bad one. The week before they beat the 49ers, Tennessee lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in a motivational trap at Heinz Field.
This week, off their victory and with a chance to clinch their division title with a win, the Titans are not in the better motivational spot against a Dolphins team that needs to triumph to keep their postseason hopes alive.
Qoxhi Picks: Miami Dolphins (+3½) over Tennessee Titans