We all should have seen this coming. In a season filled with hope and disappointment, we should have all seen the Miami Dolphins having to go to the final week of the season to try to earn their first playoff berth since 2008. In fact, we should have seen it playing out like this before the opening kickoff against the Cleveland Brown in Week 1. Why?
The New York Jets.
AFC Playoff Picture - Week 16
All 16 AFC teams have played their Week 16 games, meaning we can now take a look at the current postseason standings. And, despite an ugly loss to the Buffalo Bills, the Miami Dolphins have moved into the 6th seed.
The Dolphins host the Jets in Week 17. Of course the Dolphins would need a win over the Jets in order to get to the post season. Or, to put it another way, of course the Jets would have a chance to ruin the Dolphins' postseason dreams. It's the nature of the rivalry between Miami and New York. We hate them. They hate us. And the playoffs are on the line.
It's exactly how it should be.
In 2011, the Jets came to Miami in Week 17 needing a win to make the playoffs. The Dolphins won, ending the postseason chances, in Jason Taylor's last game. New York ended the year 8-8, while Miami was 6-10.
In 2008, the Dolphins were in contention for the AFC East division crown, and traveled to visit the Jets in Week 17. Miami won the game 24-17, earning their first playoff berth since 2001, and eliminating the Jets. The Dolphins win was made even sweeter with the fact that they were using Chad Pennington as their starting quarterback, having signed him after the Jets discarded him in favor of Brett Favre.
In 2003, Miami hosted the Jets in a Week 17 contest, with a 9-6 Dolphins needing a win and some help to make the postseason. Jay Fiedler threw for 328 yards in the game, and Miami sacked Pennington, then the Jets quarterback, four times in route to a 23-21 win. Unfortunately for Miami, the Denver Broncos also won during the week and had the higher AFC winning percentage, giving them the sixth seed and sending Miami home despite a 10-6 record.
During the 1991 season, the Jets again flew into South Florida to face the Dolphins, with both teams trying to make the tournament. Miami held an 8-7 record prior to the game with the Jets at 7-8. A 23-20 overtime win for the Jets made both teams 8-8, and earned New York the postseason berth while Miami sat at home.
It all comes down to Week 17. The Dolphins need a win. Who else would be scheduled but the Jets?