The Miami Dolphins will play in the AFC Wild Card Round on Sunday night in Denver, but they won’t be the only ones who look back at what transpired over the last two seasons.
The Dolphins made the playoffs in each of those two seasons and finished in the top four, with two of those trips going to the divisional round.
They are 3-0 this season.
Miami has been able to win in the postseason despite losing several key players in free agency and in the draft, and it was a major factor in their ability to reach the Super Bowl.
But what about the players who made the Dolphins such a success?
Here are five key players who have helped lead the Dolphins to the playoffs this season:* Brandon Gibson, DT, Jacksonville Jaguars.
Since 2014, the Dolphins have been in a playoff chase and lost only once.
They have reached the playoffs four times and lost to the Philadelphia Eagles twice.
But in 2016, they had to face the Chiefs in the first round and lost 21-13.
They also lost to Peyton Manning’s Colts in the Superbowl.* Shaq Lawson, DT/OLB, New York Jets.
Lawson had seven sacks last season and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2017.
He’s also one of the most productive pass rushers in the league.* Jonathan Martin, DT (knee), Detroit Lions.
Martin was the Lions’ top defensive player last season, and he’s not going anywhere.
He had nine sacks and two forced fumbles, and the Lions have won 10 of their last 12 games.* Joe Thomas, OLB, Atlanta Falcons.
Thomas was the Falcons’ best defensive player in 2017, and his departure this offseason has been one of Atlanta’s biggest weaknesses this season, despite playing through injury.
Thomas missed the first four games of the season with a knee injury, but he returned to the lineup for the playoffs.
Thomas is one of a handful of players who could potentially replace Jelani Jenkins on the inside of the defensive line this season as the Falcons look to build off their 2016 run.
Thomas also has some value as a free agent, as he’s a free-agent acquisition who is expected to command a hefty price tag in free safety market.
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