The Dolphins are in familiar territory.
A year ago, Miami was 7-6 and coming off a close victory at Jacksonville with its playoff hopes alive and two of three remaining games at home.
Today, the Dolphins are 7-6 and coming off a close victory at the New York Jets with its playoff hopes alive and two of three remaining games at home.
Last season the Dolphins collapsed, losing their last three games to finish 7-9.
If they can reverse that pattern - and finding a quick fix for their offense will have to be part of the formula - the Dolphins still might might be able to sneak into the post-season. But they will need a lot of help.
"There are so many things that have to happen that are out of our control from a playoff standpoint," coach Tony Sparano said Monday. "All I know is that we're still alive. We have a chance to play for something."
The current AFC wild-card leaders are the Jets (9-4) and Baltimore (8-4), which played at Houston late Monday.
The Dolphins are tied with San Diego and Indianapolis, but each has a better conference record, one of the key tiebreakers.
The Dolphins' next two games are at home against a pair of 3-10 teams, Buffalo and Detroit. Miami finishes the regular season Jan. 2 at New England (11-2), which might be locked into a top seed by then.
Before worrying about tiebreaker scenarios, the Dolphins will have to get their offense back in gear. They managed just 131 yards Sunday in the rain-soaked 10-6 victory.
"There were more yards to be made," running back Ronnie Brown said after the game.
Brown accounted for one of three lost fumbles. But he rushed for 55 of the club's 101 yards.
Sparano said the rushing total was good given the circumstances.
"When you put two defenses on the field like that you're just not going to run the football all over that place easily - it's going to be hard sledding," Sparano said. "I thought the yards rushing we had against that defense was really important."
He expects the offense to bounce back. He takes solace in the fact that the Dolphins last month beat Oakland 33-17 - gaining 471 total yards - 10 days after being shut out 16-0 by Chicago.
And he is comforted by the performance of the defense, which is fifth in the NFL after yielding 280 yards Sunday.
The Dolphins' last three opponents have averaged just 52.3 yards on the ground.
That defense was so good Sunday that Sparano joked about taking the unit to see a play on a weekly basis. The Dolphins arrived in New York a day early so the entire team could attend Lombardi.
The idea was that of owner Stephen Ross.
"It worked out good," Sparano said. "We might look for a play here in Miami this week. Maybe some Christmas play some place. Fiddler on the Roof or something."