By ANDY KENT
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — The Miami Dolphins sit in last place in the AFC East, winless in the division.
If Miami (4-6) has any chance of keeping its slim playoff hopes alive, a road win Sunday at the New York Jets (5-5) is imperative. The Dolphins arrive at MetLife Stadium having won the last three visits there and six of their past seven.
"I think that this team has confidence playing up there," said quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was a dismal 19 of 44 for 188 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in a 27-14 loss to the Jets in London in Week 4. "It’s a big game for us, so we need to go up there and play confidently and come home with a win."
While Tannehill has flourished in all three of his starts at MetLife, he’s just 4-15 in the 19 other division games he has started in his career. Like the Jets and the Buffalo Bills, Miami finds itself looking up at the first-place and unbeaten New England Patriots. Only one game separates the Jets, Bills and Dolphins.
Miami hasn’t had a winning division record since 2009 and is guaranteed to extend that streak this season. But because the rest of the AFC is so weak right now, a 2-4 record in the AFC East could still land the team a spot in the postseason.
"We’ve got to run the ball effectively. In London we kind of got into a game where we threw the ball a lot and I don’t think that’s really effective for our offense," center Mike Pouncey said. "I feel like if we get the running game going we won’t see all of those exotic blitzes they like to bring. So it’s all really on us up front on the front five to get the running game going."
While linebacker Kelvin Sheppard’s bold prediction that the Dolphins are going to finish 10-6 and make the playoffs is not likely to happen, finishing 9-7 or 8-8 could be enough to get them in.
"To me, I think it’s a good attitude to have, but it all begins with one win. You can’t get to six without one," coach Dan Campbell said of Sheppard. "I like where he’s going and we know what we have to do, but none of it is going to happen if we don’t get a win up in New York."
Notes: Linebacker Chris McCain (hip) did not practice Thursday. . Left tackle Branden Albert returned to practice and participated in full after missing Wednesday’s practice for non-injury reasons. . Linebacker Jelani Jenkins (ankle) and wide receiver Jarvis Landry (knee) both were limited after not practicing the day before and safety Reshad Jones (pectoral) practiced in full after being limited Wednesday.
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