The Miami Dolphins need a win. They need a win very badly if they want to make the 2016 post-season. Unfortunately they need to travel to Buffalo to get it.
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On Saturday night the Dolphins took control of their game and on Sunday the Patriots handed the Dolphins a silver ticket for the post-season. Miami now needs to punch that ticket.
With the win over Denver, the Patriots advanced to the post-season officially and secured both the AFC East and a first round bye. The loss by Denver dropped them a game back on Miami giving the Dolphins sole possession of the 6th seed. But it’s far from over.
For the Dolphins to make the playoffs next week they need to beat the Bills in Buffalo and hope that the Broncos lose to the Chiefs. Lurking behind them however are two problematic teams that found ways to win on Sunday.
The Tennessee Titans hold the tie-breaker over the Dolphins if the teams are tied. The Titans are one game behind the Dolphins and pushing strong after beating the Kansas City Chiefs on the final play of their game on Sunday.
The Baltimore Ravens are also lurking behind the Dolphins one game back. On Sunday the Eagles opted to go for the victory in the final seconds and try for a two point conversion rather than kick a game tying extra point. They missed. The Ravens are still in it with a date against the Pittsburgh Steelers next week.
Houston still controls their division as they beat the Jaguars late who then abruptly fired their head coach. Houston’s problem is however that they are now tied with the Titans with eight wins and in week 17 the two clubs will face off in a game that very well could decide the division. The Colts are lurking a game behind them.
With the Chiefs losing to the Titans on Sunday the door is open for the Dolphins to run the table and potentially take the 5th seed instead of the 6th. The importance of that could mean the difference of the Dolphins playing the winner of the AFC South vs. playing the winner of the North. In other words, playing Houston or Tennessee or playing Pittsburgh or Baltimore.
No easy games are on the books next weekend as the final push to week 17 gets underway. The Dolphins can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Buffalo and a Denver loss, or at least that is the early indication.
The Titans will play the Jaguars and the Texans will host the Bengals. The Colts will travel to Oakland to face the face the Raiders and the two biggest games of the weekend that does not include the Miami Dolphins will play out on Christmas Day when the Ravens go to Pittsburgh and the Broncos visit the Chiefs.
After next weekend the Dolphins will leave week 16 with a lump of coal or a post-season invitation. Of course a loss won’t eliminate them, it will just make it a lot harder.