By now every Miami Dolphins fan knows what needs to happen this weekend for the Dolphins to make the playoffs. First and foremost is a win against the New York Jets who typically don’t get swept by the Dolphins. Sure, the Jets offense is not very good but no one expected Buffalo’s offense to produce the way the did last week. Still don’t.
While the Dolphins must win their final game a win does not guarantee them anything. They need one of two things to happen. Either the Baltimore Ravens lose or the San Diego Chargers win. It literally is that simple.
Miami could see themselves in a five way tie at 8-8 if they lose on Sunday. They would be tied with the Jets, Steelers, Ravens, and Chargers. If that scenario were to play out, the Steelers would have the sixth seed. You may ask yourself why the Steelers when Miami beat them as well as a split with the Jets and a win over the Chargers. The formula actually is simple.
The first tie-breakers when more than two teams are tied is divisional record. In this case the Dolphins are eliminated by the Jets due to division record leaving the Jets tied with the other four. The Ravens would lose out based on division tie-breakers with the Steelers leaving the Jets, Steelers, and Chargers where the Chargers win based on conference record. While it seems simple enough on paper the Dolphins are not the only team holding their breath at 4:00.
While it’s possible Miami could lock up the sixth seed by the late game kick-off it’s also very likely that both Miami and Baltimore start eyeing the San Diego – Chiefs game kicking off after 4:00. A San Diego win puts Miami in and a loss put them out.. In other words while Miami is looking for Baltimore to lose and vice versa if both teams win both will be looking at San Diego. A loss by the Bolts will send Baltimore to the post-season.
The one thing Miami does control is their game against the Jets. There is no room for error and a loss will as stated eliminate them from the playoffs. The Jets may not be playing for the post-season but they could be playing for Rex Ryan’s job. Ryan has been the subject of many media and fan predictions for first coach fired after seasons end.
Both Baltimore and Miami kick their games off at 1:00 while New England and San Diego kick-off at four. New England’s game against Buffalo is important as the Bengals could move into a first round bye with a win and NE loss. The fact that the Bengals play at one means they are playing for something and not looking to rest their starters like Kansas City who will not use their starters the entire game.