The Miami Dolphins are in the midst of a four-game losing streak, but they are still in full control of their playoff lives as they head into Week 17. The AFC playoff picture has one wild card spot remaining to be claimed, with the Dolphins (8-7) leading a group that includes the Jacksonville Jaguars (7-8), New England Patriots (7-8), New York Jets (7-8), Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8), Tennessee Titans (7-9), and Las Vegas Raiders (6-9). A lot will be determined based on the outcomes in Week 17, including the possibility that Miami locks down that last wild card berth and makes the postseason for the first time since 2016.
Four of the seven teams vying for a wild card spot can be eliminated this week. The Raiders, Jets, Patriots, and Steelers would all be eliminated if they lose. A Dolphins win would immediately eliminate the Patriots, Steelers, and Raiders from playoff contention as well.
The Jaguars and Titans are still alive in the wild card hunt, but a Week 17 loss - and the Titans already lost on Thursday - severely damages their chances of a wild card spot; the two teams face off in Week 18, with the winner claiming the AFC South division title and the loser likely heading home.
The Dolphins play the Patriots in Week 17, giving Miami the chance to eliminate New England while increasing their own playoff chances this year. According to FiveThirtyEight.com, the Dolphins enter the week with a 59 percent chance of making the postseason. A win over New England jumps that number to 84 percent.
If a Miami win is paired with a Jets loss on Sunday, the Dolphins will be locked into the postseason, no matter what happens with the rest of those teams.
If the Dolphins and Patriots tie, Miami can still clinch the wild card spot with a Jets loss and a Steelers loss or tie.
If Miami loses to New England, they will not be eliminated from the playoffs, but they would need help to make it to the postseason in Week 18. In this scenario, the Dolphins would have to beat the Jets in the season finale while the Buffalo Bills come away with a win over the Patriots.
Dolphins Week 17 Scenarios:
Dolphins clinch wild card berth with:
- Dolphins win and Jets loss/tie OR
- Dolphins tie and Jets loss and Steelers loss/tie