Mike McDaniel Sends Strong Message Ahead of Dolphins-Chiefs Playoff Game

Mike McDaniel

Getty Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel at Hard Rock Stadium on December 24, 2023.

The Kansas City Chiefs (11-6) enjoyed a semi-bye in Week 18 after solidifying the No. 3 seed in the AFC. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid rested a slew of the team’s key starters and still defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 13-12.

However, the Chiefs didn’t find out their Wild Card round opponent until the Buffalo Bills defeated the Miami Dolphins 21-14 on Sunday Night Football. With this loss, the Dolphins whiffed on clinching the AFC East, a title the franchise hasn’t held in 15 years. Instead of being the No. 2 seed and earning home-field advantage, Miami will travel to Kansas City for the first round of the playoffs.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel didn’t want to dwell on the costly defeat. He promised Miami will put everything they got into beating their next opponent.

“I’m very confident that our players and coaches will turn their attention, full bore, to Kansas City,” McDaniel said. “Because that’s all we can do. This is a feeling that I can’t console or fix it with the team. It hurts. It should. We lost a game we thought we were capable of winning. Hats off to the Buffalo Bills… But we’ll focus on Kansas City because that’s the only way you can get through something like this.”

While the Dolphins finished the regular season with an 11-6 record, they are 1-5 against teams with a winning record. McDaniel said of the sobering stat, “My opinion on winning football games against records that aren’t above .500, it’s irrelevant. That narrative will occur until you do things to change it.”

The Chiefs face the Dolphins on Saturday, January 13 at 8:15 p.m. ET. The game will stream exclusively on Peacock.

The Dolphins are Heavily Banged Up Heading into the Playoffs vs. Kansas City

Miami entered Week 18 without pass rushers Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips, along with cornerback Xavien Howard. After Chubb (ACL tear) was placed on injured reserve, linebacker Jerome Baker was activated. However, McDaniel told reporters on Monday that Baker underwent wrist surgery after facing the Bills and is done for the season.

Linebacker Cameron Goode suffered a season-ending patella tear against Buffalo. Andrew Van Ginkle (foot) is also out against the Chiefs. McDaniel will likely look to add some depth at edge rusher before traveling to Kansas City. He is not expecting Howard to return for the Wild Card matchup.

On offense, the Dolphins played without wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and running back Raheem Mostert against Buffalo. However, both players could return to play against the Chiefs. And of course, the Dolphins No. 1 wide receiver, Tyreek Hill, will be starting. The former Chiefs star will play his first game at Arrowhead since he was traded to Miami.

The Chiefs can expect Hill and the Dolphins to arrive at GEHA Field with a huge chip on their shoulder after two straight losses. Before losing to the Bills, Miami took a brutal 56-19 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens.

Weather for the Dolphins-Chiefs Showdown Is Expected to Be Brutally Cold

According to Weather.com., the weather in Kansas City on Saturday will be 14 degrees during the day and drop to -3 by kickoff. McDaniel said his infamous “I wish it were colder” shirt will not make another appearance at practice this week, nor he is he stressing over the forecast.

“If we’re playing any playoff game that’s not at home, it probably will be cold,” McDaniel said. “It will be the same temperature for both teams. For us, and the individuals in the locker room, they’re not going to use that as an excuse. We’ll play a game in the same environment as the other team… You have to adjust if you want to win.”

As for Kansas City, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is rested after sitting out the regular season finale, along with tight end Travis Kelce. The Chiefs defeated the Dolphins 21-14 in Germany back in November. Kansas City is considered a 3.5-point favorite to win on Saturday.