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Dolphins players can't stop talking about the playoffs or hide their excitement about the prospects of reaching the postseason.

Coach Tony Sparano has no problem with that kind of talk because, from his standpoint, the playoffs have already began and his team is taking a win-or-go-home approach each Sunday.

"If we're going to get to where we need to be, you've got to win three or four of these things, then it's like a wild-card game," Sparano said Monday. "You're playing one game and you've got to really worry about what's in front."

While scenarios exist where the Dolphins can reach the playoffs even with a loss in one of the final two games, the surest way to the playoffs is clear: Win the last two games and clinch the AFC East division title and host a first-round game.

With that at the forefront, the fear of the Dolphins overlooking the Kansas City Chiefs (2-12) on Sunday is minimal to Sparano.

"This team, regardless of what anybody thinks, I think you have to say that they haven't overlooked anybody," Sparano said. "We just know that it's the next one in front of us. We've got a chance to do something pretty special this week by attempting to win a 10th game."

If the Dolphins (9-5) and Jets (9-5) each win Sunday, then the Dec. 28 regular-season finale at the Meadowlands becomes a winner-take-all division showdown.

To stay in the hunt, the Patriots (9-5) must win out and have the Dolphins and Jets lose at least one of their final two games to clinch the AFC East crown.

It's difficult to play the "what if" game regarding the two AFC wild-card spots until knowing this weekend's outcomes because the Dolphins, Jets, Patriots, Colts (10-4) and Ravens (9-5) are all in the wild-card hunt and almost surely will be involved in a tiebreaker to decide their playoff fate.

One thing is clear: Stumble and not only do the Dolphins lose control of their own destiny, but the odds of a postseason appearance diminish significantly.

"Who knew we'd be having this conversation about playoffs? But we can't get ahead of ourselves," said defensive end Vonnie Holliday. "We're not getting help from anybody else. This one is on us."

Andr? Goodman had never played a December game that mattered. Counting Sunday's win over the 49ers and the Buffalo win before that, his tally is now at two, and he's never had more fun.

"This is by far the best feeling I've ever had as a Football player, period," said Goodman, one of 37 players who could reach the playoffs for the first time. "It can't feel great until you know how bad it felt. I know how bad it has been."

Dolphins talk to exec

The Dolphins are in talks with Arlen Kantarian, outgoing CEO of the U.S. Tennis Association, about a top executive position on the business side of the organization, according to sources cited by SportsBusiness Journal.

The journal is reporting a position with the Dolphins could include equity in the team as part of his compensation.


Paths to the postseason

It's complicated, but the Dolphins (9-5) can reach the playoffs for the first time since 2001 even if they lose one of their remaining two games. Here are some, but not necessarily all, possibilities:

Beat the Chiefs and Jets on the road and the Dolphins, at 11-5, are AFC East champs and will host a first-round game the weekend of Jan. 3-4.

If Ravens and Patriots both lose their last two games, Dolphins clinch at least a wild card with one more win.

Dolphins win a three-way tiebreaker for the AFC East title at 10-6, provided Dolphins beat the Jets and the Patriots lose to the Bills.

Staff reports

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 16, 2008

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