Dolphins vs Vikings

NFL WEEK 15 :: The Miami Dolphins may have saved their AFC wild-card hopes last weekend and look to build on that dramatic result when they visit the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Kenyan Drake’s 52-yard scoring dash as the third player to touch the ball on the game-ending lateral capped the ‘Miami Miracle’ as the Dolphins stunned New England 34-33 (as the Dolphins were +9 point underdog at intertops).

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Miami is one of four AFC teams with a 7-6 record, and wide receiver Kenny Stills is interested to see how his team follows up on the unlikely victory. “If we don’t finish the season strong and we don’t make the playoffs, to me it doesn’t really matter how great of a play that was,” Stills told reporters of the game-ender against the Patriots. Minnesota is battling for an NFC wild-card spot, but scoring a total of 17 points in back-to-back losses led to the firing of offensive coordinator John DeFilippo on Tuesday – with Kevin Stefanski being promoted to fill the role. “He’s been around since I’ve been here,” Vikings receiver Stefan Diggs – a fourth-year pro – told reporters. “He knows the things that work, and he knows what he likes and knows what he wants to get to. I look forward to the game and seeing how it’s going to play out.”

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Vikings -7.5 O/U: 44.5

ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (7-6): Miami lost six of eight games before posting back-to-back victories, and the miracle against New England saved the team from a major uphill climb. “I like where we’re at. We’re alive,” coach Adam Gase said during a press conference. “We’re one week at a time, but if you’re not excited right now, then you might as well just go find something else to do.” Ryan Tannehill has eight touchdown passes against one interception in three games since returning from a shoulder injury while cornerback Xavien Howard (knee), who is tied for the NFL lead with seven interceptions, is in jeopardy of missing his second straight game.

Miami takes on Minnesota on Sunday afternoon from U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The Vikings are in serious trouble of missing out on the playoffs after a 21-7 loss on Monday night moved them to 6-6-1. Miami has won two straight including a miraculous 34-33 win over New England at home on the last play of the game.
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Miami Miracle

When you are down 33-28 against New England at your own 31-yard line with seven seconds left, there’s not a whole lot you can do. Stephen Gostkowski just nailed a 22-yard field goal to give the Pats a five-point lead that seemed insurmountable. But for some reason, New England decided that Ryan Tannehill was capable of throwing a 69-yard bomb to win the game so they inserted their deep prevent defense with TE Rob Gronkowski back to defend near the end zone. So after a few laterals, the ball found the hands of running back Kenyan Drake, who was able to fend off tacklers, including Gronkowski, and head to the end zone for the incredible finish.

That win put the Dolphins back in the playoff conversation at 7-6. With Jacksonville and Buffalo coming up after the Minnesota game, they realistically have a shot to earn a wild card berth. The key is Tannehill, who went 14-of-19 for 265 yards and three TDs and briefly had to come out of the game due to an ankle injury for Brock Osweiler.

Tannehill has been an enigma at times during his career. He’s having a solid season, though injuries have limited him to eight games. He’s thrown for 1,578 yards with 16 TDs and eight picks (105.7 QB rating). Since returning from a shoulder injury, Tannehill has eight TD passes and just one pick.WR Kenny Stills is coming off a season-high eight catches for 135 yards and a score against the Patriots.

On the injury front, the Dolphins could be missing cornerback Xavier Howard (knee), who is tied for the lead in the NFL with seven picks.

On the season, Miami is averaging just 310.5 yards per game of offense (29th), 201.2 passing yards (27th) and 109.3 rushing yards (18th). So they need a strong defense, but statistically, they struggle. The Fins allow 400.5 yards per game (29th), 261.6 passing yards (25th), 138.9 rushing yards (29th) and 25.6 points per game (26th).

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