The Miami Dolphins are in the midst of a major collapse as they head down the stretch and into the 2022 NFL season finale. They finished November with an 8-3 record and looking like one of the top teams in the NFL. After four games in December and one in January, they are 8-8 on the season and struggling to find any offensive rhythm. Coming off five straight losses and having giant question marks at quarterback, where the top two passers on the depth chart are both injured, Miami is somehow still favored to make it to the playoffs.
The Dolphins had control of their playoff lives over the past several weeks but lost it when they lost to the New England Patriots in Week 17. Now, a Patriots win in Week 18 locks New England into a postseason berth and eliminates Miami. A Dolphins win over the New York Jets on Sunday, along with a Patriots loss to the Buffalo Bills, would give Miami their first postseason appearance since 2016. And, should both the Patriots and Dolphins lose, a win by the Pittsburgh Steelers would leap the AFC North team over both of the AFC East clubs and give them the postseason berth. Finally, if all three teams lose, and the Jacksonville Jaguars lose, thereby not claiming the AFC South division title, Jacksonville would move into the final wild card spot.
In the opening spreads for Week 18 from the oddsmakers at DraftKings Sportsbook, the Dolphins look like they are going to slide into the wild card round of the playoffs. Miami opens the week as a three-point favorite over the Jets, despite not knowing who will be playing at quarterback for the Dolphins.
Meanwhile, the Patriots are 8.5-point underdogs at the Bills.
If those two odds prove to be prophetic of how the weekend plays out, Miami makes it into the playoffs.
The Steelers odds have not been released following their Week 17 Sunday Night Football win over the Baltimore Ravens. The Jaguars are 6.5-point favorites over the Tennessee Titans, with the winner of that game claiming the AFC South title.
The Dolphins are -165 on the moneyline for the straight-up win, while the Jets are +140. The point total has been set at 41.5 for the game.
How all of this changes as we get more clarification of the quarterback situation for the Dolphins will have to be watched. Starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is currently in the NFL concussion protocol after sustaining a head injury in Week 16 against the Green Bay Packers. Backup Teddy Bridgewater, who started against the Patriots in Week 17, broke a finger on his throwing hand in the third quarter and could not return to the game. Miami finished the game with rookie Skylar Thompson at quarterback, and he could be in line to start this pivotal Week 18 showdown with the Jets.