Playoff Bound?

Kansas City, MO - It didn't take long for Carl Peterson to build the Kansas City Chiefs into a winner.

The Miami Dolphins are finding their new regime to be just as efficient.

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After a week in which Peterson - one of the most successful executives in NFL history - decided to step down, the Dolphins continue their quest to make the playoffs in their first season under the leadership of Bill Parcells as they visit the Chiefs on Sunday.

Oddsmakers from Online Sportsbook have made the Dolphins –4 point spread favorites for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. Current NFL Public Betting Information shows that 77% of more than 3,976 bets for this game have been placed on the Dolphins -4.

Kansas City went 4-11 in two straight seasons before Peterson took over as general manager in 1989, but went 8-7-1 in his first year and went on to make six straight playoff appearances. Peterson, in his 20th year with the Chiefs (2-12), announced Monday he'd be stepping down at the end of the season.

Miami (9-5), meanwhile, went a league-worst 1-15 in 2007, then brought in Parcells to be the team's executive vice president of football operations. Parcells hired Tony Sparano to be the Dolphins' coach, and they're now in a three-way with the New York Jets and New England for first place in the AFC East.

By winning its final two games, Miami would clinch a playoff berth. Anything less, though, and the Dolphins may fall short.

"We have full control over what's going to happen," said Miami linebacker Joey Porter, who was named to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday. "It's exactly what you want. You don't want to be in a situation where you're hoping this team loses or that team loses to benefit you."

The Dolphins conclude the regular season on Dec. 28 with a road game against the Jets, who would win the division with victories in their final two games.

Miami has won three straight, sparked by a defense that was reeling following a 48-28 loss to New England on Nov. 23. Since then, though, the Dolphins have not allowed a touchdown.

In its last three games, Miami has allowed a total of 24 points - eight field goals - to beat St. Louis, Buffalo and San Francisco. The Dolphins' streak without allowing a TD is their longest since 1973, the last time they won the Super Bowl.

Miami is giving up 19.2 points per game after allowing 27.3 last year.

"They're learning how to communicate very well out there," Sparano said. "There are guys covering for one another. And they're becoming pretty resilient. They don't really get flustered a whole lot, even when somebody makes a big play against them."

There's no question the Dolphins' defense is greatly improved, but it has faced teams ranked in the bottom third in the league in yards per game over the past three weeks.

Kansas City, meanwhile, has been better on offense since Tyler Thigpen took over as the starting quarterback, averaging 27.6 points in its last eight games.

And After beating San Francisco 14-9 at home last Sunday, Miami will face cold weather in its last two games. The forecast for Sunday in Kansas City is a high of 28 degrees, but the Dolphins' ball-control offense and physical defense favor tough conditions.

With 10 turnovers, Miami is on pace to break the NFL record of 14 set by the 1990 Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

Chad Pennington has done an outstanding job of managing the Dolphins' offense, and he is complemented by a strong running game. Ronnie Brown, who will join Porter in the Pro Bowl, has rushed for 827 yards and 10 TDs.

Porter made it to the Pro Bowl by virtue of his 17 1/2 sacks after totaling 5 1/2 in 2007.

In contrast, Kansas City has nine sacks as a team and is on pace to set an NFL record for fewest in a season. The Chiefs need five sacks in their last two games to avoid the record of 13 set by the 1981 Baltimore Colts.

Five of Kansas City's sacks came in its last game, a 22-21 loss to San Diego last Sunday. The Chiefs must win their final two games to avoid being saddled with the worst record in franchise history in a 16-game season.

That would be an unfortunate end to Peterson's run, which includes nine playoff appearances.

The new general manager will decide the fate of Kansas City coach Herm Edwards, who went 4-12 last season after guiding the Chiefs to the playoffs in his first year with the team.

"I think what you do is you do the best job you possibly can with what you're dealt with," Edwards said. "That's what you do and I've never lived my life any other way. You take it head on and go as hard as you can, and that's where it's at."

This will be the first meeting between the Dolphins and Chiefs since Nov. 12, 2006, when Miami won 13-10 at home.

Top Betting Trends:
All games in this series since 1992
MIAMI is 5-2 against the spread versus KANSAS CITY since 1992
MIAMI is 6-2 straight up against KANSAS CITY since 1992
5 of 8 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games over the last 3 seasons
MIAMI is 1-0 against the spread versus KANSAS CITY over the last 3 seasons 
MIAMI is 1-0 straight up against KANSAS CITY over the last 3 seasons 
1 of 1 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
All games played at KANSAS CITY since 1992
KANSAS CITY is 1-0 against the spread versus MIAMI since 1992
KANSAS CITY is 1-0 straight up against MIAMI since 1992
1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Key Player Injuries
[OG] Justin Smiley IR - Ankle - 12/03/08
[CB] Mike Lehan has been released. - Hamstring - 10/24/08
[WR] Greg Camarillo expected to miss rest of season - Knee - 11/24/08
[WR] Tab Perry IR - Achilles - 07/27/08
[OG] Donald Thomas IR - Ankle - 09/10/08
[RB] Kolby Smith IR - Knee - 11/09/08
[C] J.P. Darche IR - Knee - 10/30/08
[CB] Maurice Leggett missed last game, "?" - Shoulder - 12/14/08
[DE] Turk McBride IR - Shoulder - 11/20/08
[C] Rudy Niswanger missed last game, "?" - Knee - 12/14/08
(!) [QB] Brodie Croyle IR - Knee - 10/19/08
[QB] Damon Huard IR - Hand - 10/22/08
[LB] Donnie Edwards missed last game, "?" - Knee - 12/14/08

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Posted: 12/17/08 4:35PM ET

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