For Pete's Sake

Five things to know about the Dolphins, the Chiefs’ next opponent

Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler recovered a fumble during the second half of Sunday’s game.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler recovered a fumble during the second half of Sunday’s game. The Associated Press

Win and they are in the playoffs.

It’s that simple for the Chiefs, who on Sunday can do something that has never been accomplished in franchise history: win a second consecutive AFC West crown. To take the West, the Chiefs will need to down the Dolphins at Arrowhead Stadium.

Miami, 6-8, is technically still alive for a playoff spot, but the Dolphins would need to win their last two games and then get a lot of help to secure the final wild-card spot in the AFC.

Here are five things to know about the Dolphins ahead of Sunday’s game, which kicks off at noon on KCTV-5 (CBS):

1. Road woes

Miami has won just two of its seven games away from Hard Rock Stadium. They’ve lost four straight on the road and have given up 144 points in those games (average: 36 points).

It was 22 degrees at kickoff of Sunday’s 24-16 loss at Buffalo, which was tied for the fourth-coldest game in which the Dolphins have ever played. Miami is 1-4 all-time in games when the temperature at kickoff is 22 degrees or colder.*

*The one victory was when the Dolphins beat the Chiefs 38-31 on Dec. 21, 2008 and the temperature was 10 degrees

With a forecast high of 28 for Sunday, there is a chance that the game at Arrowhead will be make that 22 degrees or colder list.

2. Jay Cutler

Thanks to the Dolphins, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was wrong. In February, Smith was incredulous when former Bears receiver Tom Waddle said Cutler would start eight games this season.

Well, Cutler will make his 13th start for the Dolphins on Sunday. His statistics have been pedestrian: 18 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 80.6 quarterback rating and 5.4 yards per attempt.

Then again, Cutler continues to work because he can do things like this:

Impressive, right?

Well, here’s the flip side. After the Dolphins had recovered an onside kick and had a late chance to tie Sunday’s game, Cutler threw this thing:

3. Jarvis Landry

When you think of all the great receivers the Dolphins had when Dan Marino was quarterback, it’s hard be believe that none of them crack the top three in Miami’s all-time receptions list. All three spots are owned by Landry, who has 98 catches this season.

That’s four more than he had a year ago and 12 fewer than the Dolphins record he set in 2015.

Landry is averaging just 8.6 yards per catch this season, which is fifth among Dolphins receivers with at least 10 catches. Landry leads Miami with eight touchdown receptions.

4. Third-down conversions

The Dolphins are sixth in the NFL in keeping opponents to a conversion rate of 35.4 percent on third-down plays.

It’s been a key indicator of their recent successes and failures.

On Sunday, the Bills were successful on seven of 15 third-down attempts and won 24-16. That snapped a two-game winning streak for the Dolphins, who had held the Broncos and Patriots to one conversion in 24 combined third-down plays the previous two weeks.

That’s something to keep an eye on Sunday.

5. Kicker Cody Parkey

He’s not just a warm-weather kicker.

Parkey made all three field-goal tries at Buffalo and has connected on 10 straight. He has made an AFC best 94.7 percent of his attempts. His only miss is from 50 yards.

Additionally, Parkey has three successful onside kicks. No other kicker in the NFL has more than one.

The Kansas City Chiefs 2017 season has been one of many ups and downs.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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