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AFC East review, Playoff standings, 2020 NFL Draft order, and Week 3 Dolphins rooting guide

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Miami Dolphins v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Every season over the past few years, I have posted a weekly look at the Miami Dolphins and where they stand in terms of making the playoffs, both as the AFC East champions and in the hunt for a Wildcard berth. Every season over the past few years, I have received complaints that reading an article about the Dolphins playoff chances is a waste of time and instead, we should all be rooting for losses so they get a better draft position. This year, we are getting those losses.

Those losses, however, do not change the fact that, after 17 weeks of regular season football, there still will be a postseason tournament to crown a champion of the league. And, we will watch it, with or without the Dolphins participating.

I have thought about this post for the last couple of weeks - it is typically one I do not start until mid-way through the season - and I have decided I am going to post the standings for the playoffs....and the NFL Draft. This will typically be a two-part series, one on Wednesdays looking at how the AFC East played on the week and updating the standings, then on Thursday, we will have the rooting guide for the weekend. Today, because I am starting it on Thursday, we will have both pieces in one.

AFC East Week 3

Cincinnati Bengals 17 at Buffalo Bills 21
Miami Dolphins 6 at Dallas Cowboys 31
New York Jets 14 at New England Patriots 30

AFC East Standings

Buffalo Bills (3-0)
New England Patriots (3-0)
New York Jets (0-3)
Miami Dolphins (0-3)

AFC Playoff Picture (through Week 3) (via ESPN.com)

Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) (AFC West leader)
Buffalo Bills (3-0) (AFC East leader)
Houston Texans (2-1) (AFC South leader)
Baltimore Ravens (2-1) (AFC North leader)
New England Patriots (3-0) (Wildcard 1)
Indianapolis Colts (2-1) (Wildcard 2)

Oakland Raiders (1-2)
Los Angeles Chargers (1-2)
Cleveland Browns (1-2)
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
Tennessee Titans (1-2)
Cincinnati Bengals (0-3)
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-3)
Miami Dolphins (0-3)
New York Jets (0-3)
Denver Broncos (0-3)

Tie breaks:

  • 3-0 teams: Division tie break Bills over Patriots based on strength of victory; Chiefs over Bills based on strength of victory
  • 2-1 teams: Division tie break Texans over Colts based on conference record; Texans over Ravens based on conference record
  • 1-2 teams: Division tie break Raiders over Chargers based on division record; Division tie break Jaguars over Titans based on head-to-head; Raiders over Browns based on strength of schedule; Raiders over Jaguars based on conference record; Chargers over Browns based on strength of victory; Chargers over Jaguars based on conference record; Browns over Jaguars based on conference record
  • 0-3 teams: Division tie break Bengals over Steelers based on conference point differential; Division tie break Dolphins over Jets based on strength of schedule; Bengals over Dolphins based on conference point differential; Bengals over Broncos based on strength of schedule; Steelers over Dolphins based on conference point differential; Steelers over Broncos based on strength of schedule; Dolphins over Broncos based on strength of schedule; Jets over Broncos based on strength of schedule

2020 Draft Order (via Tankathon.com)

1. New York Jets (0-3, .458)
2. Cincinnati Bengals (0-3, .469)
3. Miami Dolphins (0-3. .479)
4. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh Steelers) (0-3. .490)
5. Washington Redskins (0-3, .615)
6. Denver Broncos (0-3, .615)
7. Arizona Cardinals (0-2-1)
8. Cleveland Browns (1-2, .406)
9. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2, .417)
10. Oakland Raiders (1-2, .490)
11. Los Angeles Chargers (1-2, .490)
12. Tennessee Titans (1-2, .500)
13. New York Giants (1-2, .521)
14. Carolina Panthers (1-2, .531)
15. Atlanta Falcons (1-2, .531)
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2, .542)
17. Philadelphia Eagles (1-2, .552)
18. Seattle Seahawks (2-1, .500)
19. Minnesota Vikings (2-1, .583)
20. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears) (2-1, .625)
21. Indianapolis Colts (2-1, .375)
22. Baltimore Ravens (2-1, .448)
23. New Orleans Saints (2-1, .531)
24. Detroit Lions (2-0-1, .531)
25. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans) (2-1, .479)
26. New England Patriots (3-0, .396)
27. San Francisco 49ers (3-0, .458)
28. Los Angeles Rams (3-0, .500)
29. Buffalo Bills (3-0, .312)
30. Dallas Cowboys (3-0, .510)
31. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0, .510)
32. Green Bay Packers (3-0, .562)

Note: There is a difference between the strength of schedule used from ESPN and YTankathon. Tankathon uses the entire 16 opponent schedule, while it appears ESPN is only using the SoS for games played.

Dolphins fans Week 3 rooting guide

Whatever you think of the idea of the Dolphins “tanking” the season and losing as many games as possible for a better draft position, I will never root for the Dolphins to lose. I just cannot do it. I understand the losses right now, and see that the team is rebuilding and getting younger. Losses happen because of that. There is a benefit for the Dolphins after this season - but never do I sit down to watch a game and hope the team loses. So, in this rooting guide each week, understand that I will be rooting for things that help Miami get a better draft pick - but that the Dolphins winning will also always be included.

Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers, 8:20pm ET Thursday - This game really should not matter in the chase for draft picks, and it does not matter much in the AFC Playoff picture, so we will say root for the Eagles, because they have a 1-2 record compared to the Packers 3-0. The further away from Miami’s record, the better. Root for: Philadelphia.

Tennessee Titans at Atlanta Falcons, 1pm ET Sunday - The Titans and Falcons are both 1-2, so the losing team will still be either within a game of Miami or tied with the Dolphins. I am going to say root for the Titans because (a) teams passing the Houston Texans for the AFC South division lead later this year will be a good thing for Miami as they get Houston’s pick, and (b) I would like to see Cameron Wake have success. Root for: Tennessee.

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens, 1pm ET Sunday - A Cleveland win would be helpful for Miami for a couple of reasons. First. the Browns move up to two wins, and, maybe more importantly, a Browns win hurts the Ravens, which lowers their win percentage and, therefore, hurts Miami’s strength of schedule, which becomes the tie break in draft order, and the worst record with the worst strength of schedule wins tie breaks. Root for: Cleveland.

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills, 1pm ET Sunday - Two 3-0 teams facing off. While it is an AFC East rivalry game, the Dolphins do not appear to be in the class of either team right now. While it is likely the Patriots win the division (again), it could be fun to see Buffalo at least put a scare in them. Root for: Buffalo.

Kansas City Chiefs at Detroit Lions, 1pm ET Sunday - This game does not really have much bearing on the Dolphins, so we will just pick to have Kansas City lose because, while the Lions have not lost yet, they have a tie already - so to protect the 1972 Perfect Season, we will go for a Kansas City loss. Root for: Detroit.

Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans, 1pm ET Sunday - General rule of thumb for this year: Always root for the Texans to lose. Miami gets Houston’s first-round pick in 2020, so the worse the Texans’ record, the better Miami’s pick. Root for: Carolina.

Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts, 1pm ET Sunday - The Raiders winning would push them to two wins on the year and give Miami some breathing room. The Colts winning could keep pressure on the Texans, eventually leading to Indianapolis overtaking them for the AFC South lead. That sounds good. Root for: Oakland.

Los Angeles Chargers at Miami Dolphins, 1pm ET Sunday - Root for: Miami.

Washington Redskins at New York Giants, 1pm ET Sunday - The Dolphins play both these teams, so their strength of schedule factors both teams into the calculations. Neither team has looked good, and both could be in the mix for a top draft choice come the end of the season. We will root for the 0-3 team to get their first win. Root for: Washington.

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals, 4:05pm ET Sunday - Seattle is 2-1 on the year, while Arizona is 0-2-1. While the Cardinals should not be considering a third-straight year of taking a quarterback in the top ten picks, they could look to trade back with a team that wants a quarterback, messing up potential Dolphins pick options. Having Arizona pick up some wins is good for the Dolphins. Root for: Arizona.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05pm ET Sunday - Neither team is on Miami’s schedule, so this is straight wanting the worst record in the game to get better. Root for: Tampa Bay.

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears, 4:25pm ET Sunday - Neither team is on Miami’s schedule, but they are both also 2-1 on the season, so it does not help or hurt to have this game go either way. Root for: Pick ‘em.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Denver Broncos, 4:25pm ET Sunday - What is the right way to root for this game? Neither team has looked good, both teams are below .500, and both teams could be in the mix for an early draft pick. I guess at this point, it is look for the Broncos to get a win. Root for: Denver.

Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints, 8:20pm ET Sunday - The Dolphins lost to the Cowboys, but a strength of schedule consideration comes into play here. Plus, the Saints already have a loss, so the Perfect Season consideration makes this an easier selection. Root for: New Orleans.

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:15pm ET Monday - As with the Texans, the Dolphins will get the Steelers’ first-round pick this year, so always root for the Steelers to lose. Root for: Cincinnati.