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NFL Schedule Week 2 rooting guide for Dolphins fans

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We continue our weekly look at the NFL schedule, and how to root as a fan of the Miami Dolphins.

NFL: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL season is just one-sixteenth of the way through the season, so there is a lot of football left to play, and a lot that has to be decided before the playoff picture actually starts to come into focus. That means, there really is no way, as of yet, to know for sure how wins and losses apart from your favorite team will actually impact the end of the season standings. That said, we continue our weekly rooting guide for the Miami Dolphins, trying to determine which teams winning or losing helps Miami’s chances at the postseason.

Like in Week 1, the basic rule is to root for AFC teams to lose and NFC teams to win. That does not always hold up, because someone from each division needs to win the division, so that team winning and running away with the division can be a good thing for Miami - at least when it comes to the AFC North, South, and West. We also have situations where it is an AFC team versus an AFC team, or even an AFC East team against an AFC East team, where neither team winning actually helps Miami. We try to sort it all out, starting with tonight’s AFC East versus AFC East showdown.

New York Jets (0-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-1)

Thursday, 8:25pm

Both teams, like the Dolphins, lost last week, making the AFC East have the familiar look of the New England Patriots on top, with everyone else fighting for the other three finishing spots. One game is not insurmountable this early in the season, but Miami needs to get clear of both these teams if they want to be in the Wildcard or AFC East race later this year. You really could flip a coin here and root for either team - or maybe it should be root against the other team. I think the Jets will end up being a little better team this year between these two, and I will root for a split between them in the home-and-home series, so I will take the home team here. Root for: Bills.

Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)

Sunday, 1pm ET

An AFC North matchup between the two teams likely to be fighting for the division title. The problem is, the other team is likely going to be in position for a Wildcard spot. Pittsburgh has won two of the last three, including a playoff contest between the two clubs last January. Take your pick as to who will win this division, and that is the team to root for here. The Bengals won the division in 2015 and 2013, the Steelers won in 2014, so I will say it is their turn. Root for: Steelers.

Miami Dolphins (0-1) at New England Patriots (1-0)

Sunday, 1pm ET

Rooting guide for Dolphins fans. Who to root for in the Dolphins game? Pretty simple - plus it would give the Patriots a loss. Root for: Dolphins.

Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) at Houston Texans (1-0)

1pm ET

The Chiefs have won the last three meetings with the Texans. This again comes down to which team do you think will be in the Wildcard hunt? Both teams are looking to win their division this year. Another flip a coin game here, and I will take the team that had the better record last year to lose. Root for: Texans.

Tennessee Titans (0-1) at Detroit Lions (1-0)

Sunday, 1pm ET

AFC team at NFC team. That makes this a pretty simple decision. Root for: Lions.

Baltimore Ravens (1-0) at Cleveland Browns (0-1)

Sunday, 1pm ET

The Browns did not look good last week, and that was with Robert Griffin III. Now, they are without their prize free agent addition, and things are not looking good for Cleveland. The Ravens, meanwhile, looked pretty decent, and they are playing well with Joe Flacco back under center. That means, root for the “bad” team in this situation in an attempt to knock the “good” team down. Root for: Browns.

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) at San Diego Chargers (0-1)

Sunday, 4:25pm ET

Another flip a coin game here. The Chargers are more likely to be in the AFC Wildcard hunt, though you could argue the Jaguars could sneak into the picture as well. I’ll take the Jaguars to win here, keeping the Chargers from being in the (very early) Wildcard picture. Root for: Jacksonville.

Atlanta Falcons (0-1) at Oakland Raiders (1-0)

Sunday, 4:25pm ET

Once again, we have an NFC team versus an AFC team, which makes this a pretty simple decision. Getting the Raiders some losses could be key because this team could stick around for a Wildcard berth, if not try to challenge the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC West crown. Root for: Falcons.

Indianapolis Colts (0-1) at Denver Broncos (1-0)

Sunday, 4:25pm ET

This is actually a tough one. Do you think the Colts or the Broncos will win their respective divisions? If you think one is more likely to win their division, you have to root for that team to win. At this point, I will take the Colts as (a) more likely to win their division as compared to the Broncos and (b) getting the 1-0 team a loss. Root for: Colts.

Games not included:

San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
New Orleans Saints at New York Giants
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals
Atlanta Falcons at Oakland Raiders
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikins
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears