Thursday Thoughts

The Dolphins had their customary Thursday off before they wind down their preparations for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. It's a game with huge playoff ramifications for the Dolphins, who could clinch a playoff spot Sunday and also could be mathematically eliminated from contention.

Yep, the Dolphins could go from those two extremes. It's simple: If the Dolphins win, and Baltimore (vs. New England) and Cincinnati (vs. Minnesota) lose, then they will clinch the sixth seed in the AFC playoffs. Under that scenario, the Dolphins' hopes of winning the AFC East would be gone because New England would have clinched by beating the Ravens.

But a loss against Buffalo combined with victories by both the Ravens and Bengals would knock the Dolphins out.

In between, if the Dolphins and the Ravens win, it keeps alive Miami's hopes of winning their division and ending up with the fourth seed in the AFC instead of the sixth.

There also are all sorts of different permutations should Miami, Baltimore and Cincinnati all lose because San Diego then could become involved in a tiebreaker for the final wild-card spot.

Now, the Dolphins, Ravens and Bengals all are favored to win Sunday and if that holds true, the Dolphins would find themselves in a situation where only their game against the Jets on Dec. 29 would matter in terms of their playoff fate.

Got all that?

NEW CORNERBACK

The juggling is still going on in the secondary, with the latest move the claiming off Christopher Owens off waivers from the Cleveland Browns.

It comes exactly a year after the Dolphins claimed another cornerback from Browns, that being Dimitri Patterson. The Dolphins can only hope this move works out as well because Patterson turned in a quality season before it was cut short because of his recurring groin problem.

Owens began his career with the Falcons as a third-round pick and was a former teammate of Brent Grimes, who merely this season has become the best cornerback the Dolphins have had in a decade.

Make no mistake, Owens has ability. He just hasn't been able to put it together yet and he's coming off a knee injury that landed him on IR with Cleveland before he was waived.

Owens replaces Justin Rogers, who was inactive in his only game for the Dolphins. We wouldn't necessarily expect Owens to make a huge contribution down the stretch, but it was a good pick-up nonetheless because of the risk-reward factor.

WEATHER WATCH

Looked on weather.com a little while ago, and the forecast for Sunday in Buffalo calls for a high of 47, a low of 30, an 80 percent chance of rain and winds up to 22 mph from the south/southwest.

Of all those figures, the only that's worrisome is the wind because it could impact the passing game.

And going on that's the biggest advantage the Dolphins have. Ryan Tannehill is on a tear lately, while the Bills will be going with Thad Lewis, who has all of three starts this year and who was mediocre at best when the teams met at Sun Life Stadium in October.

Yes, Buffalo won that game, but it certainly wasn't because of Lewis, who looked out of his league more often than not. The Bills won because of three big plays by their defense: an INT returned for a touchdown; an INT that stopped a Dolphins scoring threat; and, of course, the sack-strip by Mario Williams that set up the game-winning field goal.

If the wind neutralizes the passing game, there is no question that favors the Bills.

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