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NFL.com season simulations lands Miami Dolphins in playoffs

Kansas City Chiefs v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Could the Miami Dolphins break into the NFL postseason this year? NFL.com’s Cynthia Frelund conducted 50,000 simulations of the 272 games over 18 weeks of the 2021 NFL regular season, using every team’s projected 53-man roster. She then used the win totals for each team in each simulation to come out with the average win total for each club.

For the AFC, it is not overly surprising that the Kansas City Chiefs came away with the highest win average, coming in at 11.9 games. The Buffalo Bills were second with 11.1 games, while the Baltimore Ravens are third at 10.8 wins. The Indianapolis Colts round out the division winners with winning 9.8 games on average.

The Wildcard teams in the league’s 14-team (seven-per-conference) playoff format start with the Cleveland Browns, with 10.5 wins on average this upcoming season. Then we find the Miami Dolphins, claiming a Wildcard spot and a game against the Ravens, with 9.8 average wins. The final Wildcard berth goes to the Tennessee Titans in Frelund’s simulation, with the team averaging 9.7 wins across the simulations.

Just missing out on the postseason are the New England Patriots with 9.2 wins and the Los Angeles Chargers at 9.1 wins.

The playoff picture in Frelund’s projection is:

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (AFC West champion) - 11.9 wins
  2. Buffalo Bills (AFC East champion) - 11.1 wins
  3. Baltimore Ravens (AFC North champion) - 10.8 wins
  4. Indianapolis Colts (AFC South champion) - 9.8 wins
  5. Cleveland Browns (Wildcard) - 10.5 wins
  6. Miami Dolphins (Wildcard) - 9.8 wins
  7. Tennessee Titans (Wildcard) - 9.7 wins

Will the Dolphins find their way to the postseason for the first time since the team’s Wildcard berth in 2016? If they do make the playoffs, will they be able to come away with their first postseason win since 2000?

Could the Dolphins be finally finding their way out of the team’s longest streak of playoff futility?