Consecutive December victories give the Miami Dolphins reason to hope they'll be playing for higher stakes at this time next year.
The Dolphins began preparations Monday for a mostly meaningless season finale, disappointed they'll again sit out the playoffs but buoyed by recent signs of progress. Miami (7-8) beat Buffalo 24-10 Sunday, then was eliminated from the postseason race minutes later when Cincinnati claimed the final AFC playoff berth by beating Pittsburgh.
The Dolphins will be playoff spectators for the 10th time in 11 years. Other negative streaks will also continue: 39 years without a Super Bowl title, 28 years without a Super Bowl berth, and 20 years since Miami last played in the AFC championship game.
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