The Miami Dolphins will be taking on the New England Patriots Sunday without quarterback Jay Cutler.
He left the Dolphins Week 11 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a concussion. Cutler has still not been cleared from concussion protocol and Matt Moore will start in his place, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The Dolphins are one of several 4-6 teams in the AFC hoping to earn wild-card weekend berth, but it doesn’t appear likely. They’ve lost four games in-a-row, and three of them by multiple possessions.
Cutler has missed one other game because of injury this season, and that was the beginning of their losing streak—a 40-0 loss at home to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football.
The quarterback situations of these two franchises offer a great explanation for the direction these AFC East rivals have headed since the retirement of Dan Marino following the 1999 season.
Bill Belichick became the coach of the Patriots in 2000, and the next season he won the Super Bowl with Tom Brady who is still his quarterback. Brady could win his third MVP award at 40-years-old this season. Also, the Patriots have won a total of five Super Bowls, and all but three division titles this millennium.
On the Southern end of the east coast, the Dolphins have gone through numerous coaches and general managers and quarterbacks since the retirement of Marino. They won the AFC East in 2000, and once more in 2008. They’ve made the postseason four times this millennium, and haven’t won a playoff game since Marino’s final season.