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Miami Dolphins Week 16 playoff needs

Miami Dolphins v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins are on life support when it comes to their chances to make the 2019 NFL Playoffs, but they are actually better off than maybe a lot of people realize. This team has to win out and they have to get some help, but by the end of Week 16’s schedule, they could be sitting in the sixth seed.

They would still need help in Week 17, mostly to either get rid of all tie-breaks or to stay in a multiple team tie-break that would eliminate the head-to-head loss to the Indianapolis Colts, but there is a path to the postseason in Miami.

This morning, we take a look at what needs to happen in Week 16, starting tomorrow afternoon.

Week 16

Dolphins elimination scenarios:

  • Miami loss
  • Miami tie and Tennessee win/tie
  • Miami tie and Indianapolis win/tie
  • Miami tie and Baltimore win and Pittsburgh win/tie
  • New England win/tie and Tennessee win and Indianapolis win/tie
  • New England win/tie and Tennessee tie and Indianapolis win

Dolphins playoff chances by game:

  • Entering Week 16: 5 percent (via FiveThirtyEight). We will build the percentage based on each result below.
  • Saturday: Washington Redskins at Tennessee Titans. The Dolphins need the Titans to lose here. 14 percent chance with a Titans loss.
  • Saturday: Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers. This is a little odd because Miami could want the Ravens to win so they take the AFC North from the Steelers or they could want the Ravens to lose so they are not in the Wildcard position. 14 percent chance with a Ravens win, 18 percent chance with a Ravens loss. (We will use the loss for now.)
  • Sunday: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns. The Browns still have a slight shot at the playoffs, so they do factor into Miami’s playoff chances. 19 percent chance with Browns loss.
  • Sunday: New York Giants at Indianapolis Colts. The Dolphins need the Colts to lose to close in on the Wildcard. 25 percent chance with Colts loss.
  • Sunday: Jacksonville Jaguars at Miami Dolphins. Obviously, Miami has to win. 41 percent chance with the win.

If all of these scenarios work out - Dolphins win, Titans lose, Ravens lose, Colts lose, Browns lose - the Dolphins will be in the sixth seed as they will win on tiebreaks. The Titans will be out of the tiebreak due to Divisional tiebreaks used first, with the Colts eliminating the Titans on head-to-head results. Then the Dolphins have the best win-percentage in AFC games, beating the Ravens and Colts.

This also does not include the possibility that Miami wins the AFC East. The New England Patriots are likely to clinch the division for the tenth straight year, but Miami could still climb into that position if the Patriots were to lose out and the Dolphins win out.