The Miami Dolphins are currently in the eighth position in the AFC playoff picture (dropping one position after the Tennessee Titans won on Thursday night). A win against the New England Patriots keeps the Dolphins in the playoff hunt, especially if they get the help they need.
What help is that? We take a look at the Week 14 schedule and break down what needs to happen to help the Dolphins.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills, 1pm ET
This is a coin toss game at this point. The Dolphins have swept the Jets in their annual home-and-home meetings. Miami faces the Bills in Week 17 after having beaten them in the first half of the home-and-home in Week 13. The Bills are 4-8 this season while the Jets are 3-9, so we will take the sure bet in the strength of victory tie break as well as take the shot at getting further in front of the third-place spot of the division. By now, you should know I will never root for one of these teams, so instead...Root for: Bills loss.
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins, 1pm ET
Root for: Dolphins.
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs, 1pm ET
This game is really nice for the Dolphins. The Chiefs are currently the AFC’s top seed, one game ahead of the Patriots. The Ravens are currently the AFC’s sixth seed, holding on to the last Wildcard spot. The Chiefs holding the AFC’s top spot keeps the Patriots from having it, while a loss for the Ravens assists Miami in trying to make the playoffs. Root for: Chiefs.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans, 1pm ET
Now we start to get fun. In tie breaks, there are ways that three-or-more teams benefit the Dolphins. We will not get into those because between now and the end of the season, there are too many ways that things go both for and against Miami. We will continue to try to just get the Dolphins into the playoffs based solely on their results. That means Houston winning is better for the Dolphins because they lead the AFC South and a loss for the Colts pushes them to 6-7 and out of the tie with Miami. Root for: Texans.
Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers, 4:05pm
This is an easy one. The 49ers are an NFC team that Miami did not/does not play this year, while the Broncos are 6-6 and tied with Miami in the AFC playoff picture. Root for the NFC team to win. Root for: 49ers.
Cincinnati Bengals at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05pm
Cincinnati is a game behind Miami while the Chargers hold the fifth seed and top Wildcard spot in the AFC. That makes this a tough choice. Is it better to acquiesce that the Chargers will hold on to that Wildcard spot, or is it better the the Bengals drop further behind Miami? While opening both Wildcard spots to Miami makes sense, Miami lost the head-to-head meeting between the Dolphins and the Bengals, which makes any potential tie between the two clubs worrisome. Additional losses for Cincinnati is better for the Dolphins right now. Root for: Chargers.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders, 4:25pm
The only reason this is still in the listing is because the Ravens could reach the Steelers in the AFC North race, which would make Pittsburgh a Wildcard contender. The Steelers are 7-4-1 on the season, so a loss and a Dolphins win would still keep Miami a half-game back in the playoff standings, so just rooting for the Steelers to win the division makes sense. Root for: Steelers.
Strength of victory and strength of schedule considerations:
Strength of schedule considerations:
Games not considered (No Dolphins impact)
AFC Standings with rooting guide results:
1 - AFC West leader - Kansas City Chiefs
2 - AFC South leader - Houston Texans
3 - AFC East leader - New England Patriots
4 - AFC North leader - Pittsburgh Steelers
5 - Wildcard - Los Angeles Chargers
6 - Wildcard - Baltimore Ravens
7 - Miami Dolphins
8 - Tennessee Titans
9 - Indianapolis Colts
10 - Denver Broncos
11 - Cincinnati Bengals
12 - Cleveland Browns
13 - Buffalo Bills
14 - Jacksonville Jaguars
15 - New York Jets
16 - Oakland Raiders