Week 11 is here, with the majority of the NFL’s slate of games for the weekend set to kickoff. With just six weeks left in the regular season schedule after this weekend, playoff seeding and draft order are starting to really shift into focus. The Miami Dolphins are smack in the middle of both of those races as they look today to move into a tie for the AFC East lead and a firm spot in the playoff picture, while also holding on to a potential top five draft pick thanks to a trade with the Houston Texans.
This morning we take a look at all of the NFL’s scheduled games and provide the best results for the Dolphins. Here is our Week 11 rooting guide:
Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Football Team, 1pm ET - Typically, AFC versus NFC games are easy to pick, with the win by the NFC team assisting Miami in knocking AFC teams out of playoff contention. This game, however, has arguments for both directions because of the draft order. Washington currently is in position to select third, while Cincinnati is seventh, a spot behind where Miami’s pick from the Texans is currently slotted. A win from Cincinnati keeps them from jumping ahead of the Dolphins if Houston were to win. A win from Washington would move them behind the Dolphins if Houston were to win. A loss from Washington would keep them within reach of the New York Jets, who hold the first-overall pick. What is the right way? I’ll take the chance of Miami’s pick moving up with a Washington win. Root for: Washington.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints, 1pm ET - NFC versus NFC with no real impact on the Dolphins. Atlanta is closer to Miami’s position in the draft order, so we will say a New Orleans win is better for the Dolphins. Root for: New Orleans.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1pm ET - There is no right way for this game to end. The Steelers are 9-0, with the 1972 Dolphins team needing a loss from Pittsburgh to protect the Perfect Season. The Jaguars are 1-8, putting them just behind the Jets for the first-overall pick. I am going to root for this game assuming someone down the road will be able to beat the Steelers, while a win from Jacksonville could essentially lock the Jets into the top pick. Root for: Pittsburgh.
New England Patriots at Houston Texans, 1pm ET - Simple pick, even though it seems odd to say. The Patriots are 4-5 on the season so a .500 mark for them is not going to threaten the Dolphins right now, while every loss from the Texans helps Miami’s draft positioning. Root for: New England.
Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns, 1pm ET - Another simple pick. An NFC versus AFC team, plus Cleveland is tied with Miami at 6-3 on the season. Root for: Philadelphia.
Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers, 1pm ET - An NFC versus NFC team. Normally a toss-up game, but the Panthers are 3-7 while the Lions are 4-5 on the year. A win from Carolina keeps them from becoming a factor in the draft order for Miami. Root for: Carolina.
Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens, 1pm ET - This game has become a toss-up, despite it being an AFC matchup with playoff picture teams. Both the Ravens and Titans are 6-3, matching the Dolphins, and both of them are in the Wildcard hunt as the Titans chase the Indianapolis Colts for the AFC South and the Ravens are behind the Steelers for the AFC North. You could make the argument that the Titans have the easier path to still win their division, but that would just move the Colts back into the Wildcard picture. Root for: Toss up.
New York Jets at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05pm ET - This game is just dumb. The Jets are first in the draft order, the Chargers are fifth. The only way to root for this game is to see the Jets lose...the first pick. That does help Miami a little in the strength of schedule/victory tied breaks too, given Miami plays New York twice, compared to just one game against the Chargers. You know I cannot say it though. Root for: Los Angeles loss.
Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings, 4:25pm ET - NFC versus NFC with no impacts on the Dolphins’ playoff picture, so looking at the draft order makes this easy. The Cowboys are fourth in the order, while the Vikings are 14th. A win from the Cowboys helps move Miami’s draft pick up. Root for: Dallas.
Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts, 4:25pm ET - An NFC versus AFC team should be an easy game to decide, but this one could be a spot where the AFC team winning makes more sense. Deciding how to root for this game is dependent on what you think happens in the AFC South the rest of the year. Do the Titans catch the Colts? I will say a win from the Colts is better just to keep the AFC South the same. Root for: Indianapolis.
Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders, 8:20pm ET - The Chiefs are 8-1 and easily in control fot he AFC West. The Raiders are 6-3 an in the Wildcard race. Makes this easy. Root for: Kansas City.
Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8:15pm Monday - Two NFC teams in the playoff picture. It should be a good game. I will take the rooting guide to a Rams win just because it gives us all a chance to see sad Tom Brady (and it helps Miami’s strength of schedule/victory tie breaks). Root for: Los Angeles.