There are those who view the glass half empty and those who view it half full. There are those who believe that an NFL team, down by 10 points, can still make a comeback and tie the game with only two minutes remaining in the game. There are those who believe that no matter what obstacle is on the way, they will get the job done. If you are one of those people, keep reading as this column is going to be filled with optimism. If you are not one of those people, I still encourage you to keep reading because what else do you have to do on a Sunday morning besides drink a Bloody Mary and get ready for today's football games? Additionally, you can take everything below and completely reverse it as it would then help you in determining what draft pick the Miami Dolphins will inch closer to for the 2016 NFL Draft.
Why is this column pointed towards the optimist thinker? That's because the Dolphins are still not yet mathematically eliminated from the playoff race. While their chances are slim, they also said the same thing about Rudy making the football team at Notre Dame. Better yet, they said the chances of Aaron Rodgers completing that Hail Mary pass to defeat the Detroit Lions was almost impossible. Guess what? Both of these things happened. So, why not have a little faith, especially in the spirit of this holiday season?
If you choose to have that faith - to hope and pray that the Dolphins make the playoffs - here's what you need to know for today's slate of games.
NFC vs. AFC Match-Ups
There is a lot of inter-conference play this weekend so these are the easy picks - the one where you pick the NFC team no matter what because of course, an NFC team cannot hurt the Dolphins' playoff chances, unless it gets to the rare moment where a tiebreaker is decided by strength of schedule. Considering that's the sixth tiebreaker, chances are it's not going to happen. Therefore, you should be rooting for the following:
- San Francisco 49ers over the Cleveland Browns
- Philadelphia Eagles over the Buffalo Bills
- Seattle Seahawks over the Baltimore Ravens
The Eagles have a legitimate chance over the Bills, as they are coming off a big win over the injury riddled New England Patriots. Even the 49ers have been playing well as of late so a victory over the Browns is not a crazy idea. Then, you have the Ravens, who are a sad football team right now and will likely have no chance to put up a fight against Seattle.
Go for the Division Leaders
At this time of the year and when your time is in the Wild Card hunt, you always want the division leaders to start pulling away from the rest of the pack so the picture becomes a bit clearer at the bottom. Today, you should be rooting for the following:
- Indianapolis Colts over the Jacksonville Jaguars
- Cincinnati Bengals over the Pittsburgh Steelers
- Denver Broncos over the Oakland Raiders
- New England Patriots over the Houston Texans
The Colts are coming off a big loss but prior to that, they have been playing well. However, so have the Jaguars so this game is likely to be a toss-up. A victory for the Jaguars likely won't change much in the end, but it's safer to have them lose than for them to win. The rest are self-explanatory, with the Steelers in the thick of the wild card race. The optimistic fans need them to lose to knock them down a notch. Finally, as much as we all don't like the Patriots, it makes sense to root for them today.
The Easy Picks
The San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans vs. New York Jets games are easy picks, even though there are two AFC teams playing against each other. Root for the following:
- San Diego Chargers over the Kansas City Chiefs
- Tennessee Titans over the New York Jets
Both the Chiefs and the Jets are in the thick of the Wild Card race and the Dolphins desperately need each of them to lose their games. It doesn't look promising though. The Chargers have basically no one left on their roster and quarterback Phillip Rivers is battling a severe flu. While the Jets won't have Darrelle Revis playing for them, they are still good enough to beat the Titans without him. Miracles happen though, and the optimistic fans need to be hoping for one in these two games.
Again, the chances of the Dolphins making the playoffs are very slim but if you're holding onto any type of hope, follow these guidelines for today. Remember thought that the Dolphins must win on Monday night against the New York Giants to remain in the playoff race.
This column was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter! Follow @FinsInsider