Week 14: AFC Playoff Picture Update

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The Dolphins 26-10 loss at home to the Eagles officially ended Miami’s razor thin playoff hopes.  The Dolphins defense played well only giving up 51 rushing yards and 188 passing yards.  But, the Dolphins could not overcome the field position given by the offense’s three turnovers and nine sacks.  While winning four out of five games, the offense played efficiently limiting turnovers, sacks, and penalties.  Against the Eagles, the Dolphins’ offense looked more like the one that contributed to the seven game losing streak.  More troubling was the loss of Jake Long and Matt Moore plus injuries to Vonte Davis and Vernon Carey.

The Dolphins loss to the Eagles ensures their third losing season in a row.  And, attention now turns to the role of playing spoiler and draft position.  What record the Dolphins wind up with depends highly on the health of Matt Moore and particularly Jake Long.  If Jake Long cannot make it back onto the field, the Dolphins may lose their remaining games.  Me … I am torn between resting Long focusing on getting him healthy for the next season and focusing on getting him back for at least the final game to beat the Jets keeping them from making the playoffs.  Here are my prediction predicated on Long making it back for the final game (losses are noted in red).

Dolphins (4-9):  @ Bills, @ Patriots, Jets — Final Record Overall 6-10, Division 3-3, Conference 5-7.

By the way … yes, I know … last week, I actually picked the Dolphins to beat the Eagles.  Boy, I blew that prediction.  However, I was 8-2 overall with my predictions in the AFC playoff picture.  Not too bad!

Here is a Week 14 AFC Playoff Picture Update including the remaining games for each team along with predictions (losses in red).  Let’s start with the current Division leaders.  The Patriots continue on cruise control with a relatively easy schedule for the remainder of the season — only one team has a winning record.  The game this week with the Broncos in Denver will be a very interesting match-up.  The Texans played tough last weekend beating the Bengals in Cincy behind third string QB T. J. Yates leading the NFL’s 2nd ranked rushing offense and behind the NFL’s 4th ranked scoring defense (3rd against the pass and 4th against the run).  They also have only one remaining game against a team with a winning record — a final game of the regular season against the Titans in Houston.  The Ravens keep chugging along with the NFL’s 3rd ranked scoring defense and the NFL’s 9th ranked scoring offense.  They also have only one remaining game against a team with a winning record — a final game of the regular season against the Bengals in Cincy.  The Broncos are still leading the AFC West with an offense that is adapting to Tim Tebow’s style of play and his 4th quarter miracles.  They have one tough game left this week against the Patriots — it will be interesting to see how the “hooded-one of the north” deals with Tebow.