The Miami Dolphins are extremely difficult to figure out. Predicting the outcome of one of their games is darn near impossible, as we never know which team will show up. One week they beat a very good Cincinnati Bengals team only to lose to the NFL’s worst shortly after. Then, when all hope was surely lost and the ‘Fins were expected to continue reeling, they defeat the San Diego Chargers in a game filled with playoff implications. While the first five playoff spots will more than likely go to the Broncos, Chiefs, Colts, Patriots and Bengals, the Miami Dolphins find themselves in a heated battle for the 6th and final spot in the AFC. Let’s take a look at the teams competing for the 6th and final spot, starting with our Miami Dolphins.
The official NFL tie-breaking procedures can be found here.
Miami Dolphins (5-5): Miami has shown that they can win when they play together as a team and despite gaping holes in their offensive line. They picked up a huge win over the Chargers yesterday while also receiving a huge amount of help around the league. They control their own destiny, and if they can beat the Jets twice and Bills once while also grabbing a win over the Steelers or Patriots, I like their chances! However, given the unpredictability of this Miami team, that’s a big if.
MIA key games remaining: Dec. 1 @ NYJ, Dec. 8 @ PIT, Dec. 29 vs. NYJ
New York Jets (5-5): The Jets suffered a huge blow to their playoff campaign after getting destroyed in Buffalo. However, because they have a better divisional record than Miami (the only other current 5-5 team), they still have sole possession of the 6th spot. That being said, the Jets and Dolphins still have two games remaining, and I believe the final Wildcard spot will come down to the winner of these two games.
NYJ key games remaining: Nov. 24 @ BAL, Dec. 1 vs. MIA, Dec. 22 vs. CLE, Dec. 29 @ MIA
Oakland Raiders (4-6): Because the Raiders have games left against the Broncos, Cowboys and Chiefs, I just don’t see this team making it into the playoffs. Regardless, the NFL is crazy at times and Terrelle Pryor is a dynamic quarterback. It isn’t over until the fat lady sings, but I can hear here warming up her vocal chords in Oakland.
OAK key games remaining: Nov. 24 vs. TEN, Dec. 8 @NYJ, Dec. 22 @ SD
Tennessee Titans (4-6): The loss to the then win-less Jaguars really set this team way back. What was even more costly was the recent injury to QB Jake Locker. Without Locker, I simply don’t see this team riding the less than stellar Ryan Fitzpatrick into the playoffs. If Chris Johnson shows up, Tennessee can beat any team on any given day, but the problem is his inconsistency.
TEN key games remaining: Nov. 24 @ OAK, Dec. 1 @ IND
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6): If the Steelers continue to stay hot, look out! Ben Roethlisberger knows how to win late in the year, and the Steelers have more experience than almost any team out there when it comes to the big games. If the Steelers can conquer their difficult remaining schedule that includes Baltimore and Green Bay on the road, this team could find themselves sneaking into January.
PIT key games remaining: Nov. 28 @ BAL, Dec. 8 vs. MIA, Dec 15. vs. CIN
Baltimore Ravens (4-6): While I think the last playoff spot will come down to the Jets Dolphins match-up, there is a great chance it could also come down to the Ravens Steelers match-up too. They have a key direct win over Miami and also have experience on their side. If Ray Rice and the O-Line can ever get on the same page, this Ravens team could make a run late in the season. They will have to find a way around the “Steel Curtain” do to so.
BAL key games remaining: Nov. 24 vs. NYJ, Nov. 28 vs. PIT, Dec. 29 @ CIN
Cleveland Browns (4-6): I honestly believe that if Brian Hoyer had not been injured, this Browns team would be in serious contention for the AFC North crown. Without him they have been extremely hot and cold and failed to maintain a huge lead over the Bengals yesterday. Cleveland would have to win out to make the playoffs. Not likely.
CLE key games remaining: Dec. 22 @ NYJ, Dec. 29 @ PIT
San Diego Chargers (4-6): Miami’s 20-16 victory of San Diego all but eliminated the Bolts from playoff contention. San Diego’s biggest problem? They have to play the Chiefs twice, the Broncos once and the Bengals. This team is just about out of electricity.
SD key games remaining: Nov. 24 @ KC, Dec. 12 @ DEN, Dec. 29 vs. KC
The playoff race is my favorite part of the NFL. There is nothing like a win- or-go- home game, and I have a good feeling we will have many of those in this year’s battle for the final playoff spot. Among all of the controversy surrounding this Miami team and organization, they still manage to control their own destiny. And for that, I am thankful.