Report: Bradley Chubb and Xavien Howard among stars back at Miami Dolphins practice ahead of Week 18

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Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins cannot afford to lose on Sunday if they want to clinch a playoff spot, and they got some good news ahead of their Week 18 matchup, as Xavien Howard and Bradley Chubb were among the players to return to practice on Thursday.

The Dolphins have a crucial game on Sunday against the New York Jets as they look to make it back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2016 season.

Howard and Chubb both missed Miami’s Week 17 loss against the New England Patriots, which dropped the Dolphins out of a playoff spot. Howard missed the game with a knee injury while Chubb was out with hand and ankle injuries.

After starting out 8-3, Miami has lost five straight games to fall to .500 on the season. Not many believed the Dolphins would be in this position after such a fantastic start.

As a result of the five-game losing streak, the Dolphins do not control their own destiny. They need to hope that the Patriots fail to win their game on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. If the Patriots beat the Bills, they will clinch the AFC’s last playoff spot.

Miami will make the playoffs if it beats the Jets and the Bills beat the Patriots. Results in other games would not matter if that were to happen.

The Dolphins currently have a 42 percent chance of making it to the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight. With Tua Tagovailoa out due to a concussion, Miami will have to trot out either Teddy Bridgewater or Skylar Thompson at quarterback against the Jets.

It seems like Thompson is more likely to start, as Bridgewater only threw short passes to a team staffer on Thursday.

The Dolphins recently signed veteran Mike Glennon to the practice squad, and it appears reasonable to say that he’ll suit up for the team’s next contest.

Missing the playoffs would certainly be a failure for a team that has a first-year head coach in Mike McDaniel. The hype seemed real back in late November, but things have gone downhill since then.

All the Dolphins can do now is take care of their own business and hope the Bills lend them a hand.

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David is a University of Maryland graduate who grew up most of his life in Miami. He has experience in writing, editing and video production, and he's excited to be able to contribute to Dolphin Nation.