Dolphins road-map to the playoffs isn’t easy, but it’s possible

The Patriots do have some tough matchups left on their schedule: @ Seattle (cross country games are tough), @ St. Louis (3-0 at home), @ Miami (we can hope), vs. Houston, vs. San Francisco, and vs. Miami.  Sure, they have the Jets twice, the Bills, Jags, and Colts…..BUT, the Patriots probably have 3-4 losses left on their schedule, putting them at 10-6 or 11-5.  Unfortunately, unless the Dolphins go on a ridiculous streak or sweep the Patriots themselves, I don’t think they’ll win the race to the AFC East crown.

Now that I’ve depressed you, let me walk you through what I think the Dolphins need to do, to make it to the postseason via the wild card.  The key to winning a wild card (other than overall record of course), is to be the #2 team in your division and having a good conference record.  I THINK that the Dolphins will end up with a better record than the Bills and Jets (because they aren’t good), so the division record shouldn’t matter too much.  BUT, the Dolphins do need to win their conference games.  As of today, the Dolphins have a conference record of 2-2.

So what does the Dolphins road-map to the playoffs look like?  The Dolphins need to win this weekend and get to 3-3 heading into the bye week.  The Dolphins then need to win 3 of their next 4 games (@ Jets, @ Colts, vs. Titans, @ Buffalo).  The Dolphins would then stand at 6-4 (5-3 in the AFC).  The Dolphins then need to beat Seattle, who will be travelling the longest distance any team must travel to play a road game (at 1pm EST no less!). The Dolphins will then be 7-4 and need 3 wins to get to the magic number of 10.  10 wins will virtually guarantee a wild card birth, but there’s a chance that 9-7 will too.  The Dolphins just need to win games and let the chips fall as they may!

Entering the final month of the season, the Dolphins have a difficult schedule, playing the Patriots and 49ers in 3 of their final 5 games.  The Dolphins will need to win one of those game (most winnable will be the Patriots at home Dec. 2nd) and then beat the Jags and Bills in Miami to get them to 10 wins.  If the season plays out like this, the Dolphins will be 10-6, with an AFC record of 8-4.  With that record, the Dolphins should be eligible for bonus football in January.  But again, it all starts this weekend in a must-win against the Rams.  Those close losses to the Cardinals and Jets have given the Dolphins a very small margin for error in their race to the postseason.  I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

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