It’s been a long time since the Miami Dolphins were relevant enough to warrant the NFL considering a move to thrust a Miami football game into a primetime slot this late in the season. With the Dolphins rolling to 7-4 and an intriguing rookie quarterback under center, the league has moved one of Miami’s most important games of the season into primetime.
The Miami Dolphins will take on the Las Vegas Raiders at the brand new Allegiant Stadium on December 26th at 8:15 pm. Yes, before you even check your calendar, that’s a Saturday. Each year, the league chooses several teams to play in late-season Saturday windows. Hopefully, this means a Dolphins win will be coming one day early during the holiday season. That contest against the Raiders will matter a great deal in determining playoff positioning as teams prepare for January football.
The current AFC playoff race is as follows:
- Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0)
- Kansas City Chiefs (10-1)
- Tennessee Titans (8-3) wins tiebreak over Buffalo based on head-to-head win %
- Buffalo Bills (8-3)
- Cleveland Browns (8-3)
- Miami Dolphins (7-4) wins tiebreak over Indianapolis based on win % in conference games
- Indianapolis Colts (7-4)
The Baltimore Ravens (6-4), Las Vegas Raiders (6-5), and New England Patriots (5-6) are the teams that still have a reasonable shot at making a run for one of the remaining wild card spots (often labeled as “in the hunt”). Of the fighting for a wild card spot (Cleveland, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Las Vegas, and New England), the Raiders and Patriots are the only ones that Miami will play in a head-to-head matchup at some point this season. The Patriots already defeated the Dolphins back in Week 1, so a head-to-head win against New England in Week 15 will be vital in ensuring Bill Belichick’s crew doesn’t come from behind to overtake Miami with a late-season surge.
Miami Dolphins @ Las Vegas Raiders will air on NFL Network at 8:15pm ET on Saturday, December 26th.
This article was written by Justin Hier. For more Miami Dolphins news, updates, and analysis, follow Justin on Twitter @HierJustin.