The Miami Dolphins clinched a second straight playoff berth in Week 16 when kicker Jason Sanders nailed a game-winning field goal to beat the Dallas Cowboys.
Now coming off a road loss to Baltimore, Miami returns home to Hard Rock Stadium for a Sunday Night Football showdown versus the Buffalo Bills with additional playoff implications on the line.
With a win, the Dolphins can clinch the AFC East for the first time since 2008.
Here's what Head Coach Mike McDaniel, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and other members of the team had to say ahead of the team's regular season finale.
Ready for Primetime
Head Coach Mike McDaniel
(On the idea that the team has evolved since its first meeting with Buffalo) – "I would totally agree with that. I think it was in all three phases. It felt like at that point in the season, maybe the players were running the system that we have in each phase. Now it feels like they're owning the system, and there's an incredible power to that. When we're at our best, that's what you're seeing. It's not anybody's plays, play calls, systems – it's theirs, which I firmly believe because they are painters. They're doing all the stuff. We give advice. We give every tool that we can possibly give in preparation and then we try to put players in the best position to succeed. But they're the ones that are out there doing all of it."
RB De'Von Achane
(On playing in a primetime game with a great atmosphere) – "I'm pretty excited. The crowd really doesn't get to me as much though. But playing in front of a lot of people and primetime game so everybody is going to be watching. I mean that's kind of cool. That's fun."
LB Andrew Van Ginkel
(On the opportunity to clinch the AFC East with a win against Buffalo) – "We've got a team that's hungry. Obviously, we're coming off a difficult loss. We're motivated. We know what we're capable of doing, and we've got a lot of guys in this room that they want to get that sour taste out of their mouth. Obviously, it's a big game and we know what's at stake, so we're going to come out in full force."
Preparing for the Bills
Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio
(On Buffalo's offense) – "They're really running the ball well right now and when you are running the ball that well, the play-action game is opened up. So that's really helping them. They are really talented on offense. They have two really good tight ends. Everybody knows about (Stefon) Diggs. Their slot's a good player. (Gabe) Davis is a good player. (James) Cook is the best back they've had in Buffalo maybe since Thurman Thomas. Their line is doing a good job and obviously everybody knows about Josh Allen and his ability. They're highly ranked in most offensive categories and when you watch the tape, you can see why."
Offensive Coordinator Frank Smith
(On what he notices from the Bills defense) – "They play very well together. They're a very well-connected defense, well-coached. They understand what they're defending, how they're going to defend it. They understand their opponent. So overall, they just do a very good job just knowing their system and the intent. Similarly to what we try and do, you teach the why and the how. Then you have a plan for offense. You have a plan for attack, they have a plan for the defense. You see a very-well coached team with guys that play hard and it'll be a very good challenge for us on Sunday night."
QB Tua Tagovailoa
(On what the Bills defense has shown this season) – "They are very sound defensively. They're coached well. They know where their problems are. They hide their problems well. I mean, they are really good in that sense. They're really good also with their disguise and showing shell and then going one-high, and disguising that with their other coverages and their two-high deal. They present some good problems for us, and it's going to be a good challenge for us this Sunday."
Dolphins in the Pro Bowl
Special Teams Coordinator Danny Crossman
(On FB Alec Ingold being named to his first Pro Bowl) – "No. 1, a great individual as a person. A great leader. Plays through a lot of stuff. Does everything and anything you could ask for. Yes, super happy for him. Like all of these guys, I'm very happy to have him on our club."
Head Coach Mike McDaniel
(On the Dolphins having six players selected for the 2024 Pro Bowl Games) – "That's a big deal. As long as I've been in the NFL, when you start getting into a handful-plus of guys that are recognized for the all-star game, you're getting the attention of the rest of the league and the fan base. I think it was really, really awesome for everyone to see. All of the acknowledgments were important. But to have three guys have their first Pro Bowl and then two of them be in the undrafted category, that have earned everything in their career. Then to have Tua (Tagovailoa) go ahead and be acknowledged as such when a year ago, people were questioning whether or not he could even be healthy for it. All those things. And then, what Jalen Ramsey has done for this team, what Terron Armstead has done for this team and what Tyreek (Hill) has done for this team are huge. I think that's fair. I think there could have been a couple other guys for sure, but that's kind of the way it goes. Very proud to have those guys acknowledged in that way because that's the end vision. That's part of the vision that you have when you're trying to win football games and take a football team to another level. In that process, there's guys that you're hoping will be recognized as the best in class and I think really all six of them are super deserving of it and I was happy for all of them."
WR Jaylen Waddle
(On what it means to the team to see QB Tua Tagovailoa named the AFC's starting quarterback for the Pro Bowl) – "It means a lot. Well deserved. He's playing great. It's just crazy, at least since I've been in the league, how far he's come. I always knew what he was capable of, but it is good to see your brother go out and shine and let the whole world know he's one of the top tier quarterbacks in this league."
For more analysis on Sunday's game, listen to the latest episode of Drive Time with Travis Wingfield.