We have missed the last couple of weeks with the rooting guide, mostly because I have been busy and it is one of the posts that has fallen to the way-side. This week, however, with the Miami Dolphins climbing back into the middle of the AFC, it is time to make sure it comes back.
The Dolphins can obviously help themselves by winning a second straight game against an AFC East division rival. If they can climb back to .500, they will absolutely be in the Playoff picture in a jumbled AFC.
Here is the Week 9 rooting guide for Dolphins fans:
New York Jets (3-5) at Miami Dolphins (3-4)
Well, given this is all about the Dolphins, it is probably pretty important to see them win. Add in that it is always great to see the Jets lose, and it is even better. Root for: Dolphins.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)
This one is a little confusing. Ideally, the Chiefs lose so that they fall back a little in the Wildcard hunt, but they are only a half game back in their division, where the Raiders and the Broncos are both 6-2, so there is a chance the Chiefs win the division, and a win here could help that. The Jaguars are only a game behind the Dolphins, so a win from them could put them in the Wildcard hunt as well. Again, confusing. I am going to go with the idea of keeping fewer teams in the madness, so that would be a Chiefs win, keeping the Jaguars at just two victories. Root for: Chiefs.
Dallas Cowboys at Cleveland Browns (0-8)
Really, this game does not have much impact on the AFC Playoff picture, so it nearly landed in the “Games Not Considered” category, which would have been the first AFC team to make it down there. However, we will keep the Browns up here another week. Since Miami beat the Browns, we will use it as a chance to strengthen their victories and schedule for the year. Root for: Browns.
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) at Baltimore Ravens (3-4)
No one is dominating their way to the top in the AFC North, but the Steelers are sitting on top of it right now, while the Ravens are third, but in the Wildcard hunt. Add to the tie-breakers of Miami having beaten the Steelers, so a strength of victory and schedule option is here, and it makes the Steelers winning and the Ravens losing the best case in this game. Root for: Steelers.
Indianapolis Colts (3-5) at Green Bay Packers
AFC team in the Wildcard hunt versus NFC team. Pretty simple decision on this one. Root for: Packers.
Tennessee Titans (4-4) at San Diego Chargers (3-5)
The Dolphins lost to the Titans, so they need to get ahead of them in the standings to remove the head-to-head tie-break if that were to come into play. Miami faces the Chargers in Week 10, so they have a chance to take the head-to-head tie break over the Chargers. Getting the Titans to five losses is more important at this point than keeping the Chargers from a fourth win. Root for: Chargers.
Denver Broncos (6-2) at Oakland Raiders (6-2)
One of these two will win the AFC West (assuming the Chiefs do not make a charge), and the other will likely claim a Wildcard spot. It is probably a toss up as to which way to root for this game, so which team do you believe is more likely to continue the run to the division title? I’ll take the Broncos. Root for: Broncos.
Buffalo Bills (4-4) at Seattle Seahawks
The Dolphins beat the Bills last week to climb to within a half-game of the second position in the AFC East, so now it is time to push ahead of them, which happens with a Miami win and a Buffalo loss. Buffalo facing off against an NFC team makes this even easier. Root for: Seahawks.
Games not considered
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers
Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Rams