Breaking down the Dolphins playoff chances and possibilities
Chargers (5-7) – vs. Giants, @ Broncos, vs. Raiders, vs. Chiefs
Could the Chargers go 3-1 and get to 8-8? Yes they could. But, it would mean beating either the Broncos or Chiefs. Remember, the Chiefs might be resting players in week 17 because they’ll probably be locked into the #5 seed by then. The problem for the Chargers is that they already have 6 losses in the conference. So they’ll likely need to finish ahead of the Dolphins to get the #6 seed. Remember, the Dolphins hold the head to head tiebreaker and will have a better conference record than the Chargers, should the teams finish tied at 8-8 or 9-7.
Steelers (5-7) – vs. Dolphins, vs. Bengals, @ Packers, vs. Browns
The Steelers will be playing a desperation game on Sunday, which makes them dangerous. A loss and their season is over. A win and they are right back in the mix…and actually in a good position for the #6 seed. They are 4-5 in the conference, but a win on Sunday would give them the head to head edge on the Dolphins and would pull them to within 1 game in conference record, which would come in to play if the Dolphins, Steelers, and a team from the AFC West or AFC South finished tied.
Jets (5-7) – vs. Raiders, @ Panthers, vs. Browns, @ Dolphins
The Jets schedule isn’t brutal, but their offense is. I can’t see them going 3-1 in this stretch…not with that offense. I actually don’t think they’ll score in double digits against the Panthers. And if their game against the Dolphins means anything, I expect the Dolphins to beat them in the finale.
Titans (5-7) – @ Broncos, vs. Cardinals, @ Jaguars, vs. Texans
The Titans are only a game out, but they are 0-4 in their division, having lost to the Jags and Texans already. They are playing with their backup QB and have the 10-2 Broncos and 7-5 Cardinals left before finishing up against those 2 beatable teams. Not sure they can go 3-1 down the stretch either. They are 4-5 in conference, so unless their loss comes against the Cardinals (meaning they’d have to beat the Broncos in Denver), I don’t see them winning any tiebreakers.
So, as you can see from the above, the Dolphins playoff hopes are in their own hands. Yes, I know that the Ravens hold the tiebreaker and are tied, so the Dolphins don’t technically control their own destiny. BUT, the Ravens schedule is much tougher down the stretch. The Dolphins shouldn’t think about any of this at this point. They should simply worry about one thing and one thing only….beating the Steelers on Sunday. If the Dolphins can beat the Steelers they will be set up in GREAT position to make the postseason (even if they’re still tied with the Ravens). They could conceivably beat the Steelers and lose to the Patriots and still make the playoffs . Heck, they might even be able to lose at Buffalo after that and still have a shot.
It will be fascinating to watch how this all plays out. One thing is sure though, it’s nice to be able to talk about the possibility of the playoffs after this roller coaster of a season. Even though the Dolphins are mediocre at 6-6, they are still very much alive and kicking in this race. They’re alive because all of the other playoff contenders for the 6th spot are just as mediocre!
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