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Dolphins playoff chances after Chargers beat 49ers

The San Diego Chargers beat the San Francisco 49ers last night. What does that do to the Miami Dolphins' playoff chances?

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Chargers' win over the San Francisco 49ers kept San Diego in the playoff hunt. It also solidified everything that needs to go right for the Miami Dolphins to find their way into the postseason tournament.

Miami Dolphins (7-7)

The Dolphins have to take care of business for themselves and come away with a win today against the Minnesota Vikings, then again in Week 17 against the New York Jets.

Cincinnati Bengals (9-4-1)

The trick with the Bengals is them coming away with the AFC North division title. Even if they lose out and finish 9-6-1, that one tie keeps them ahead of the Dolphins in the Wildcard chase. They need to win in Week 17 against Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)

Miami's scenario for Pittsburgh is easy at this point - they need to lose. They face Kansas City today, then the Bengals in Week 17. Losses in each of those games drop them to 9-7, which would tie with Miami if the Dolphins win out.

Baltimore Ravens (9-5)

Like Pittsburgh, the Dolphins need Baltimore to get down to 9-7, meaning they need to lose to Houston this week and to Cleveland in Week 17.

San Diego Chargers (9-6)

San Diego's win this week is complete, so Miami needs them to lose next week at Kansas City.

Kansas City Chiefs (8-6)

Miami fans need to be rooting for Kansas City the rest of the year. A win over the Steelers this week then a win over the Chargers to end the season pushes Kansas City up to 10-6, clinching the fifth spot in the playoffs. Kansas City getting to 10 wins mean they will have caused the some of the losses Miami needs.

Buffalo Bills (8-6)

The Bills need to lose one game out of their final two, pulling them down into the seven loss teams. Miami wins the intra-division tie break against Buffalo, so a 9-7 record is not an issue for the Dolphins. Buffalo plays Oakland this week, which will likely result in a Bills victory (though, Oakland can surprise some teams), meaning the Week 17 Buffalo at New England game may be the key to seeing a Buffalo loss.

Houston Texans (7-7)

Miami needs Houston to beat the Ravens this week, which pushes Houston to 8-7. At 9-7, they will claim the tie break over the Dolphins, which means Miami is banking on a Jacksonville Jaguars upset over Houston in Week 17.

Final records:


Kansas City Chiefs


Miami Dolphins 
Pittsburgh Steelers
Baltimore Ravens
San Diego Chargers

9-7 or 8-8

Buffalo Bills
Cleveland Browns (Were eliminated from playoffs with SD win on Saturday)

Tie Breaks:

The NFL tie break procedures start with eliminating teams from the same division, until only one team from each remains. The Steelers win the AFC North tie break over the Ravens, and the Browns if they reach 9-7. The Dolphins top the Bills, if Buffalo is 9-7. Miami and Pittsburgh then top the Chargers based on conference record, with Miami then beating Pittsburgh based on record against common opponents. That would land Miami in the final Wildcard position.

Miami Week 16 results needed:

Dolphins win
Steelers lose / Chiefs win
Ravens lose

As we all know, it's a nearly impossible longshot, but the Dolphins do head into Week 16 with at least a shot at the playoffs.