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The Miami Dolphins are the walking wounded headed into this weekend’s first round playoff match-up with the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City.
The Dolphins have several key players, including receiver Tyreek Hill, who are ailing. Miami barely resembles the team that looked like a serious Super Bowl contender just a few short weeks ago.
Adding to the injury factor is another subplot swirling around Saturday’s game: It’s the first time since the Chiefs traded Hill to the Dolphins that Hill has returned to Kansas City. Hill was a Chief for the first six years of his career. During that time, he made six Pro Bowls and was an important part of the Chiefs’ 31-20 Super Bowl LIV win over the San Francisco 49ers in 2020.
The Dolphins and the Chiefs have played each other one time (2023) since Hill headed southeast — but it was played in Germany. Since leaving the Chiefs, Hill really doesn’t have much to prove. He’s maintained or exceeded the level of play he showed in Kansas City. Last year, he finished second in the league in receiving yards with 1,710. This year, Hill led the NFL with 1,799 and was, for at least a portion of the season, considered a legitimate MVP candidate.
At the same time, it’s not like the Chiefs have underperformed since Hill’s departure, either. The season after he left, Kansas City defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in Super Bowl LVII. So appears as though the trade has worked out well for both parties.
Their split was fairly amicable. But without Hill returning to Kansas City previously, it remains unknown what kind of reception he will get and how, if at all, that will affect him during the game.
And speaking of the game — it’s supposed to be bitterly cold Saturday night. Temperatures are expected to be in the teens and, with the wind chill, it could be below freezing. It hasn’t been that long since Hill played in cold conditions regularly. The rest of the Dolphins, however, can’t say that.
The cold weather combined with the injuries — 10 Dolphins either did not practice or were limited in practice this week (including Hill, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, receiver Jaylen Waddle, running back Raheem Mostert, running back De’Von Achane, among others) — will make things all the tougher for Miami.
As things stand right now, the Chiefs are favored to win. Maybe Hill’s return to KC could provide the spark the Dolphins need to get back on track. Otherwise, Saturday night’s game could be even colder and more miserable than it’s already going to be.
- Despite monster year from Tyreek Hill, Dolphins end season without much of a fight
- Hill, Dolphins close season with division title and individual records on the line
- Miami stumbles against Baltimore, still fighting for the AFC East title
- Dolphins clinch playoff berth, Hill's pursuit of 2,000 receiving yards remains alive
- The chase for 2,000 yards: Hill has to average 153 ypg over the next three games