MIAMI, DEC. 16 -- The Miami Dolphins showed again that they're a good team. Now they'll find out if they're a championship team.

The Dolphins capitalized on big plays and dodged four Seattle scoring threats in the second half today for a 24-17 victory that magnified the importance of next weekend's game at Buffalo.

Miami (11-3) is one game behind the first-place Bills in the AFC East.

"We're a pretty good team," quarterback Dan Marino said. "I won't say we're a great team, but we're pretty good.

"The big test for us will be next week. If we can win there, we can go as far as we want to go."

Should the Dolphins win next Sunday and beat Indianapolis in their final regular-season game Dec. 30, they will be the division champions. If the Dolphins lose to Buffalo, they'll be eliminated from title contention.

The Dolphins, who have the second-best record in the AFC, clinched at least a wild-card playoff berth a week ago.

Seattle (7-7) may be able to earn a wild-card berth by splitting its final games at home against Denver and Detroit.

"This was like our playoff game because we could decide our own fate," linebacker David Wyman said. "We thought we could beat these guys. Now we're going to have to win our last two games and rely on some other teams to help us out to get in the playoffs."

The Seahawks reached Miami's 30 five times in the second half but scored only on their final possession. Two drives ended when Norm Johnson missed field goals, hitting the left upright with a 34-yard field goal attempt, then hitting the right post with a 37-yard try.

Seattle...3...7...0...7...17

Miami....3...14...7...0...24 FIRST QUARTER

Seattle: FG Johnson 24, 7:32.

Miami: FG Stoyanovich 32, 13:03. SECOND QUARTER

Seattle: Fenner 2 run (Johnson kick), 0:32.

Miami: Pruitt 4 pass from Marino (Stoyanovich kick), 7:51.

Miami: Stradford 6 run (Stoyanovich kick), 13:32. THIRD QUARTER

Miami: Edmunds 11 pass from Marino (Stoyanovich kick), 14:39. FOURTH QUARTER

Seattle: Chadwick 13 pass from Krieg (Johnson kick), 13:09.

Attendance: 57,851

...............Seahawks...Dolphins

First downs..........21...20

Rushes-yards......22-83...31-105

Passing yards.......261...242

Return yards.........71...30

Passing..........21-37-3...17-29-1

Sacked-yards lost...3-34...1-8

Punts-average........3-46...5-46

Fumbles-lost..........2-1...3-2

Penalties-yards......5-25...4-27

Time of possession...26:46...33:14 RUSHING

Seattle: Williams 10-62, Fenner 11-15, Krieg 1-6.

Miami: Smith 17-51, Stradford 6-24, Logan 5-20, Limbrick 3-10.PASSING

Seattle: Krieg 21-37-3, 295 yards.

Miami: Marino 17-29-1, 250 yards.RECEIVING

Seattle: Kane 10-162, Blades 4-45, Chadwick 3-34, Heller 2-34, Skansi 1-17, Williams 1-3.

Miami: Edmonds 5-76, Duper 2-30, Smith 2-24, Jensen 2-24, Pruitt 2-20, Limbrick 2-16, Martin 1-45, Stradford 1-15.MISSED FIELD GOALS

Seattle: Johnson 34, 37.