The Miami Dolphins will play the New England Patriots next Sunday and a loss could give them a top five pick. A win will give them some comfort heading into the off-season.
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New England isn’t going to mail this game in. They still have something to play for. While they have clinched a first round bye, they have not secured home field advantage throughout the playoffs and with their team being so banged up, they are going to need home field advantage. Miami on the other hand is hoping to escape the season with a final win and their first and only win in the division.
For fans, beating the Patriots this season will be enough because that is all they have now. Losing however could put the team in play for a top five draft pick come April. A Miami loss will put the Dolphins at 5-11 for the season. Just below them are the Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Chargers, and San Francisco 49ers, all at 4-11. Miami will lose head to head tie breakers with two of those teams.
The Dolphins won’t be expected to win on Sunday and neither will the other three teams vying for a top five spot…if you want to call that winning. San Diego will play at Denver and the Broncos are holding a slim lead over the surging Kansas City Chiefs who locked up at least a Wild Card spot on Sunday. Denver has a solid offense and a powerful defense so a Charger win would be surprising.
Dallas will play host to the Washington Redskins. The Redskins have locked up the NFC East and can’t advance themselves with a victory. It’s unclear if coach Jay Gruden will play his starters the entire game. Even if he doesn’t, the Cowboys are not giving anyone trouble these days and they will likely not give Washington any either.
Finally in San Francisco the 49’ers will host the Rams who blew out the Seahawks on Sunday. The Rams are playing for nothing more than pride and it looked like it on Sunday. The 49ers are playing to get to the off-season.
At the bottom of the standings are two 3-12 teams. The Browns and Titans. Both teams will finish 1-2 unless they win and the 4-11 teams lose and then there is a shake-up. A small one but when you are talking about top five draft picks your still talking about a bad season.
For the Dolphins, more specifically their fans, a high draft pick means absolutely nothing without a head coach and/or general manager making the right decisions with the pick. Will Miami go with a blue-chip playmaker or will they draft specifically for need? The good news is that they have so many needs, it shouldn’t be a problem finding a blue-chip player even in the 6th spot if that is where they end up.
Now, if the Dolphins win on Sunday and a few other teams lose, Miami could go from a potential top five pick to being out of the top 10 entirely.