The San Diego Chargers beat the Oakland Raiders moving them into a tie with the Miami Dolphins. At the same time in a game that almost mirrored the Chargers game, the New England Patriots handed the Baltimore Ravens a loss dropping them into a tie with the Dolphins and Chargers. Miami now holds the 6th seed based on tie breakers involving conference records.
For this week.
Next week four teams will enter the weekend with hopes of making the playoffs in the AFC and none of those four team hold their own fate in their hands. Meaning there will be no “win and you’re in” games next Sunday.
The least likely to make it is Pittsburgh who is one game back of the group. They will need all three to lose on Sunday. For the Dolphins it get’s tricky. A win against the New York Jets is an absolute must but they need help from either Cincinnati or San Diego. Miami will make the post season if Baltimore loses and they beat the Jets. They will also get in if they beat the Jets and both Baltimore wins and San Diego beats Kansas City. A win by Miami and a win by Baltimore along with a loss by San Diego eliminates the Dolphins.
If all three teams lose and Pittsburgh loses, Miami get’s the sixth seed. If Miami wins and San Diego wins Miami get’s the sixth seed. San Diego needs to win and hope that both Baltimore and Miami lose. Miami and Baltimore play at 1:00 while San Diego plays at 4:00. San Diego will know their fate before taking the field.
It’s only fitting that in such and up and down season for the Dolphins that hopes of a playoff birth come down to the final weekend of the season. The Dolphins looked lost, flat, and just about every other negative one could attach to the game against Buffalo.
The question heading into next week is will the Bengals and the Chiefs sit their starters. Cincinnati has clinched a playoff birth but a loss by New England to Buffalo gives them a possible first round bye. So there will be something on the table for the Bengals come week 17. The same can not be said about the Chargers who face a Chiefs team with their seeding already locked up. The Chiefs will be the 5th seed regardless of what happens. Wether or not they sit their starters after a 20-7 lost to the Colts today will be a big question heading into the final regular weekend.
Regardless of the scenarios ahead for the Dolphins, another game like today will make all of the scenarios moot.