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Mailbag: Can Dolphins keep up their winning ways after the bye week?

The Dolphins’ five-game winning streak, tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for the second-longest current streak in the NFL, is historic.

With Sunday’s victory against the New York Giants, the Dolphins became the second team in NFL history to win five consecutive games following a seven-game losing streak, joining the 1994 Giants.

At 6-7 and 11/2 games back of the seventh seed in the AFC, playoffs are a realistic goal now but the Dolphins will have to wait until after their bye week to continue their winning streak.

In this week’s mailbag, I take a look at whether the Dolphins can keep their winning ways going after the bye, whether Tua Tagovailoa may get a public commitment from the front office and more. And a reminder that if you have questions you would like me to answer in future mailbags, you can ask me on Twitter or email me. Here we go:

Will we hear from the front office this season that Tua is our quarterback for next season? Say what you want but the trade rumors could not have been helpful to the team as a whole. - @David13David

It’s an interesting question, considering the way Tagovalioa has played in recent weeks. In weeks and months leading up to the trade deadline, coach Brian Flores said on multiple occasions that Tagovailoa is the Dolphins’ quarterback. And while technically true, he, nor general manager Chris Grier, did anything to dispel reports about the team’s interest in Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

If I had to guess: unless Tagovailoa has completely won over Grier and the entire organization with his play since the trade deadline passed, we still won’t hear a public declaration that Tagovailoa is the “franchise quarterback.” While Tagovailoa’s play has been encouraging, it doesn’t negate the fact that Watson still seems interested in coming to Miami — and vice versa — and the Dolphins have the draft capital and cap room to accommodate what many see as a top 5-10 quarterback in the NFL, legal issues notwithstanding.

How do the Dolphins keep the momentum going after the bye week? - @tonyfigcis

By doing exactly what has gotten them back in the playoff picture: playing excellent defense and clean football. I’m not sure how much better this offense — which is still only averaging just 19.5 points — can get over the final month-plus of the season. However, we have seen for more than a month now that the defense can play at an elite level. The team is 6-0 when the defense holds opponents to 17 points or fewer. While that remains a really hard standard to uphold week in and week out, if the Dolphins can keep games in the low to mid-20s, they should have a chance every time, so long as Tagovailoa protects the ball. And he has done just that, throwing just one interception since Week 10.

Did the Dolphins lose the London game 2x by not taking the Bye? - @easterly1

We’ll never truly know whether an early season bye could have turned things around for the Dolphins sooner. Speaking to most players, they didn’t want a week off in the midst of a really bad losing streak. Would a week off before the game against the Atlanta Falcons have resulted in a win? Who’s to say, that game came down to a miraculous catch by Kyle Pitts at the end. The Dolphins could have been on the right side of the things the week before if not for a shrewd move by Urban Meyer — and maybe poor coaching from the Dolphins — to get into field-goal range with seconds remaining.

The Dolphins are 1-1 after byes under Flores, which is way too small a sample size to draw any conclusions about how Flores gets his players to play after time off. What I will say is that it’s been a roller coaster of a season for the Dolphins — and there’s still four games left. While many may think the bye comes at a bad time because of the win streak, I think it’ll be good for a lot of guys playing through injures to heal up and feel rejuvenated for the stretch run.

What do you do on bye weeks (Sunday)? Get away from football? RedZone? Both? - @KyleTheCommish

I can’t get enough of this sport that we all love, so I’ll probably have three games pulled up on my TV, laptop and phone simultaneously. When the team I’m covering isn’t playing, I sometimes like to scout ahead and watch opposing teams that are coming up on the schedule. I obviously won’t be watching as closely as I do a normal Dolphins game. This season is just as much a grind for the media members who cover the team day in and day out as it is for the team, so I definitely take these opportunities to decompress and relax when I can.

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