Last week, I wrote about the Dolphins chances to make the playoffs. Playoffs? Yes, I wrote about the chances based upon statements by Karlos Dansby.
I believe that in order for the Dolphins to make the playoffs, they must win out. Well, the Dolphins did their part last weekend by stampeding the Bills 35-8. Next up are the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. So, we shall see if the winning streak continues with the defense playing lights out and the offense playing very effectively. As long as the winning streak continues, I plan to update the Dolphins chances to make the playoffs — however really out there it seems to be.
The Dolphins have six games left to play. Three of the six are against AFC East Division foes — two on the road against Buffalo and New England along with one at home against the Jets. The current division records are as follows: Patriots are 3-1, Jets are 2-2, Bills are 1-2, and Dolphins are 1-2. If the Dolphins win out, they would hold the tie-breaker for any wild-card playoff spot against the Jets and Bills. The tie-breaking criteria for playoff spots can be found here.
Assuming the Patriots (who are now at 7-3) win the AFC East, here is the remaining schedules for the Dolphins, Jets and Bills. I have highlighted in red my prediction for losses. I have included each team’s current record. By the way, I have updated my predictions for the Bills. I now believe they will lose at home against the Broncos — they are really beaten up.
Dolphins (3-7): @ Cowboys, Raiders, Eagles, @ Bills, @ Patriots, Jets — Final Record Overall 9-7, Division 4-2, Conference 6-6.
Jets (5-5): Bills, @ Redskins, Chiefs, @ Eagles, Giants, @ Dolphins – Final Record Overall 9-7, Division 3-3, Conference 6-6.
Bills (5-5): @ Jets, Titans, @ Chargers, Dolphins, Broncos, @ Patriots – Final Record Overall 6-10, Division 1-5, Conference 4-8.
The Dolphins would edge out the Jets for any wild-card playoff spot because they would be tied in head-to-head matches (1-1), but the Dolphins would have the better Division record, which is the second NFL tie-breaking criteria.
The teams taking the two wild-card spots will likely come out of the AFC North (Steelers, Ravens, Bengals). It looks like the Steelers are on their way to a Division title. Here are the remaining schedules for these teams and my predictions.
Steelers (7-3): @ Chiefs, Bengals, Browns, @ 49ers, Rams, @ Browns – Final Record Overall 12-4, Conference 9-3.
Ravens (7-3): 49ers, @ Browns, Colts, @ Chargers, Browns, @ Bengals – Final Record Overall 11-5, Conference 9-3.
Bengals (6-4): Browns, @ Steelers, Texans, @ Rams, Cardinals, Ravens – Final Record Overall 9-7, Conference 6-6.
It is possible that one of the two wild-card spots could come out of the AFC South (Texans, Titans). Here are the remaining schedules for these teams and my predictions. I believe the Texans will win the Division.
Texans (7-3): @ Jaguars, Falcons, @ Bengals, Panthers, @ Colts, Titans – Final Record Overall 12-4, Conference 10-2.
Titans (5-5): Bucs, @ Bills, Saints, @ Colts, Jaguars, @ Texans – Final Record Overall 8-8, Conference 6-6.
It is not likely that one of the two wild-card spots will come out of the AFC West. In fact, it is possible that the top three teams (Raiders, Chargers, and Broncos) could all have identical records at 8-8 with the Raiders winning the Division based on better Division record. Here are the remaining schedules for these teams.
Raiders (6-4): Bears, @ Dolphins, @ Packers, Lions, @ Chiefs, Chargers — Final Record Overall 8-8, Division 4-2, Conference 7-5.
Chargers (4-6): Broncos, @ Jaguars, Bills, Ravens, @Lions, @ Raiders — Final Record Overall 8-8, Division 3-3, Conference 7-5.
Broncos (5-5): @ Chargers, @ Vikings, Bears, Patriots, @ Bills, Chiefs — Final Record Overall 8-8, Division 3-3, Conference 7-5.
So, just to recap, I am currently predicting that the Patriots, Steelers, Texans, and Raiders will win their respective Divisions with the Steelers and Texans getting the first round byes. I believe the Ravens and Bengals will get the two wild-card spots.
If the Dolphins won all of its remaining games, they may lose the final wild-card spot to the Bengals based on the third tie-breaking criteria — winning percentage against common opponents. The Dolphins-Bengals common opponents are the Browns, Broncos, Bills, and Texans. The Dolphins loss to the Browns is the clincher. The Dolphins would have to hope that the Bengals wind up with an 8-8 record. Maybe, Karlos Dansby’s old team, Arizona, will beat the Bengals in Cincy in the next to last week of the season.
I want to wish a Happy Thanksgiving Day to all and a hope that the Phins beat the Boys during turkey dinner on Thursday.
What do you think about the analysis? Do the Phins have a chance?
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Tags: Baltimore Ravens Buffalo Bills Cincinnati Bengals Dallas Cowboys Denver Broncos Houston Texans Jeff Ireland Karlos Dansby Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL NFL Playoff Scenarios Oakland Raiders Pittsburgh Steelers San Diego Chargers Tennessee Titans Tony Sparano