Ryan Tannehill is quickly asserting himself as a franchise quarterback.
In recent weeks, Tannehill has stepped up for the 7-6 Miami Dolphins to push the South Florida franchise close to a playoff berth for the first time in years. The next test for Tannehill and company is the 10-3 New England Patriots on Sunday, Dec. 15, at 1 p.m. on CBS.
Tannehill is now chasing a Dan Marino mark sure to impress Dolphins fans in the Cayman Islands and abroad: 4,000 passing yards in a season. Marino reached that milestone multiple times in his career with Tannehill currently on 3,315 yards. Those numbers back up the notion that Miami finally has another star hurler to build around.
The Patriots are vulnerable and primed to stumble after the season-ending injury to Rob Gronkowski. Expect the surging Dolphins to win by seven points to gain the inside track for a playoff seed.
Another notable contest on Sunday pits the 6-6-1 Green Bay Packers against the 7-6 Dallas Cowboys. Green Bay is not the same without Aaron Rodgers and Dallas cannot make enough defensive stops to give Tony Romo more offensive possessions. While the Cowboys historically struggle late in the year, they are a rollercoaster team poised to bounce back with a six-point victory.
The 11-2 Denver Broncos will be keen to wrap up postseason home-field advantage in the coming weeks and their next game is against the 6-7 San Diego Chargers on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 8:25 p.m. on NFL Network. Peyton Manning is keen to show he can excel in any weather and he should orchestrate a 14-point Denver victory.
Few teams can match the passing attack of the 7-6 Detroit Lions, who play on Monday, Dec. 16, at 8:40 p.m. on ESPN against the 7-6 Baltimore Ravens. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are the face of a Detroit team primed for playoff success and a 10-point win over Joe Flacco’s crew should steady those aspirations.