DAVIE, Fla. -- Streaky is one way to describe veteran quarterback Jay Cutler during his 12-year career. There are times when he can get hot and look like one of the top throwers in the NFL, and others when he can't stop things from continuing to go downhill.
The Miami Dolphins are hoping for the former on Sunday when they travel to the play the Buffalo Bills in a game with playoff implications for both teams. Buffalo (7-6) holds the final wild-card spot in the AFC, and the Dolphins (6-7) trail the Bills by just one game.
Cutler is coming off his signature performance of the season, throwing for 263 yards and three touchdowns with a 112.1 passer rating in Monday's 27-20 victory against the reigning champion New England Patriots. It was Cutler's first win against New England.
"We played well, but we got to do it again," Cutler said. "We have three games left. You gotta be consistent."
Cutler has a two-week old beard going that he refuses to cut during Miami's winning streak. Despite a sub-.500 record, the Dolphins are mathematically alive for the postseason but have a slim margin for error. Miami has to win all three games to finish with a winning record.
This is also why Cutler must play his best football in December. Miami spent $10 million this season on Cutler with hopes that he could replace and duplicate what Ryan Tannehill did last season by getting the team to the playoffs. A trio of good performances by Cutler and three straight wins would give Miami at least a shot of playing in January.
The Dolphins' offense has improved. After getting shut out twice in its first seven games, Miami is averaging 24 points in its past six. However, the Dolphins are 2-4 in those games.
"I think we are playing a little bit better [on offense]," Dolphins offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said. "It wasn't real hard to improve. It feels like we improved, but we started from so far back. I think we do got a little bit of momentum."
Cold weather is a certainty and inclement weather is a possibility for the Dolphins and Bills on Sunday. Miami hasn't played in many cold games this season and has yet to face snow or heavy rains.
"Wind is probably the biggest factor in these cold-weather games," Cutler said. "Snow, rain, 30 degrees, that's all fine. You have heated benches, hand muffs, heated helmet things. So once you get out there you're kind of running on adrenaline. But if it's windy I think that affects how QB is played more than anything else."