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2020 NFL Week 7: Miami Dolphins fan rooting guide

The Miami Dolphins are on their bye week, but that does not mean a lot can happen for the Dolpins this weekend.

New York Jets v Buffalo Bills Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins are on their bye week this weekend, giving them their one off-weekend for the season. They were supposed to play this weekend, with the bye originally scheduled for Week 11, between Miami’s two games against the New York Jets. The bye week allows the team to get some rest and extra preparation time, including for new starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, while it allows fans a chance to just sit back and enjoy some football.

To get us all ready for Sunday/Monday, we took a moment to look at the NFL’s Week 7 schedule, buiding a rooting guide for Dolphins fans. The first step, even as it is only Week 7, was to look at both the AFC East divisional standings, and the AFC’s playoff picture. There are still 10 weeks to play after this weekend, but some teams are already positioning themselves for the post season, or playing themselves out of real contention.

The current AFC East standings are:

Buffalo Bills 4-2
Miami Dolphins 3-3
New England Patriots 2-3
New York Jets 0-6

Miami is ninth in the playoff seeding, with the top seven making it to the postseason this year. The current standings are:

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-0, AFC North leader)
Tennessee Titans (5-0, AFC South leader)
Kansas City Chiefs (5-1, AFC West leader)
Buffalo Bills (4-2, AFC East leader)
Baltimore Ravens (5-1, Wildcard 1)
Cleveland Browns (4-2, Wildcard 2)
Indianapolis Colts (4-2, Wildcard 3)

Las Vegas Raiders (3-2)
Miami Dolphins (3-3)
Denver Broncos (2-3)
New England Patriots (2-3)
Cincinnati Bengals (1-4)
Los Angeles Chargers (1-4)
Houston Texans (1-5)
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5)
New York Jets (0-6)

What does Miami need from the Week 7 slate of games? Here is our rooting guide for Dolphins fans for this week:

Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons, 1pm ET

NFC vs. NFC team with no real impacts on the Dolphins. Root for: Either.

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals, 1pm ET

Most likely, the Steelers or the Ravens will win the AFC North, meaning the Browns would be fighting for a Wildcard position. Miami plays the Bengals later in the season, meaning a stronger record for the Bengals would help the Dolphins in tie-break scenarios. Both of those say it would be better for the Dolphins if the Browns lose. Root for: Cincinnati.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans, 1pm ET

This is a game featuring two undefeated teams sitting at the top of the conference and their respective divisions. Rooting for the undefeated team to lose to protect the 1972 Dolphins’ Perfect Season is not an option given both teams are undefeated. Both clubs are in a position to (likely) win their respective divisions, so that would not impact Miami’s playoff chances. The Dolphins do not play either team this year, so there is no strength of schedule tie breaks involved. This really becomes a coin-toss game. We will lean toward the Titans because (a) losses among the Steelers/Ravens/Browns could eventually push someone out of the Wildcard and (b) Ryan Tannehill, after everything he did to try to win in Miami, is worthy of support. Root for: Tennessee.

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints, 1pm ET

NFC vs. NFC team with no real impacts on the Dolphins. Root for: Either.

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets, 1pm ET

Multiple factors here, coming to the same result. First, the Bills are in first place, a game ahead of Miami, in the AFC East. Of course, Dolphins fans want to see that team lose. Plus, a win or two for the Jets could push them out of the 2021 NFL Draft’s hunt for quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who seems to be the consensus number one pick right now. However, I cannot say to root for that team. Root for: Buffalo loss.

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team, 1pm ET

NFC vs. NFC team with no real impacts on the Dolphins. We will give a slight nod to the Cowboys for the simple reason that Washington appears to be on the search for another quarterback as Dwayne Haskins is benched and falling out of favor of the coaching staff and they are only 1-5 on the year. They could, with some losses and some wins from the Jets, fall into the first-overall pick and keep New York from getting it. Root for: Dallas.

Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans, 1pm ET

Pretty simple rule this year. Who is Houston playing? Root for that team. Miami holds the Texans’ first- and second-round picks this year, meaning the worse record Houston has, the better pick the Dolphins get in April. Root for: Green Bay.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Las Vegas Raiders, 4:05pm ET

I do not like rooting for Tom Brady, but this is an NFC team facing an AFC team in a Wildcard position. A loss for the Raiders helps Miami. Root for: Tampa Bay.

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos, 4:25pm ET

The Chiefs have a loss already on the year and look likely to win the AFC West again. Denver is 2-3 on the year. Miami plays both teams this year, so strength of schedule tie breaks even out. More losses for the Broncos keeps them out of the Wildcard picture. Root for: Kansas City.

San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots, 4:25pm ET

NFC vs. AFC. Miami already beat the 49ers, so strength of schedule/victory considerations could help the Dolphins. Patriots are just behind Miami in the AFC East standings, with the potential to pull themselves back to a tie with the Dolphins this week. All of that adds up to needing to see the Patriots lose. Root for: San Francisco.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25pm ET

Miami beat Jacksonville earlier this year, with the Chargers on the schedule later this season. Strength of schedule/victory evens out in this game. Both teams have only one win, so there really is no outcome that is clearly advantageous for Miami. Root for: Either.

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals, 7:20pm ET (SNF)

The Dolphins lost to the Seahawks this year, while the Cardinals are on the schedule in a couple of weeks. The strength of schedule evens out, but Miami could increase their strength of victory with a win over the Cardinals. Seattle is still undefeated, so the 1972 Dolphins rule comes into play as well. Root for: Arizona.

Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams, 7:15pm ET Monday (MNF)

Miami’s next game is against the Rams, while they do not play the Bears this season. Strength of schedule/victory could come into play, plus why get the Rams looking to bounce back after a prime-time loss? Root for: Los Angeles.