The Miami Dolphins control their own destiny but controlling your own future doesn’t exactly mean you have a no loss way to the post-season.
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For the Dolphins this weekend is very simple, win and you just might play an extra game. The first extra game since 2008. Lose and you need some help. The Dolphins need to win one of their final two games and have the Denver Broncos lose one to clinch it.
So far the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders have both secured trips to the post-season. Cleveland, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, San Diego, and the New York Jets are all mathematically eliminated. The Patriots will clinch home field and advantage with a win and a Oakland loss or tie.
In the AFC West the battle for the division comes down to Oakland winning and Kansas City losing but if the Chiefs win they will secure a post-season spot. With the Chiefs playing Denver, Dolphins fans want the Chiefs to win on Sunday.
First and foremost the Dolphins have to find a way to win in Buffalo. Something they haven’t done since 2011 on the arm of, ironically, Matt Moore. Moore needs to lead the team to another victory so the team can sit back on Sunday and watch what happens with the Chiefs and Broncos.
Those two teams however are not the only teams Miami fans should be watching out for.
Tennessee and Jacksonville doesn’t sound like much on the surface especially with the Jaguars eliminated but they can ruin a division rivals season. A loss by the Titans would keep the Titans a game back of Miami making it still possible for the Dolphins to make the post-season should they drop both of their last games. The win would also put the Texans in as the AFC South division winner.
Indianapolis at Oakland is another game that doesn’t sound all that important to Miami fans but like the Titans, a loss would eliminate the Colts from the thin playoff chance that remains.
On Saturday night the Bengals will play in Houston and while the Texans don’t pose any direct threat to the Dolphins right now, a loss will keep the battle for their division open with Tennessee which could eliminate any head to head tie-breakers between the Dolphins and Titans if the Titans win the division.
On Sunday it gets more interesting. The Ravens kick it off at 4:00 when they play the Steelers. Dolphins should want the Steelers to win but if Miami loses to the Bills and the Steelers lose to the Ravens Miami could still hold the 6th seed. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter who wins if the Dolphins do their job and the week 17 scenarios will be far more in-depth to worry about right now. If the Steelers do win however they will win the division and the Ravens will remain one game back of Miami heading into week 17.
Finally it’s Denver visiting the Chiefs on Sunday night. Regardless of what happens with the Dolphins it’s the one game that needs watching. The Dolphins will make the post-season with a win and a Bronco loss but if the Broncos win and Miami loses, the two teams are tied once again heading into the final week of the season where it is possible that as many as four teams could enter the final week at 9-6 vying for the final playoff spot.
Now if you are one of those fans who wants more than just a playoff berth, you want to root against the Chiefs this week to go along with your Dolphins win. This will keep the door open for a 5th seed playoff spot. What’s the difference? Well the 5th seed will take on the winner of the AFC South in the Wild Card round, meaning the Texans or the Titans whereas the 6th seed will play the Steelers or the Ravens.
It’s better to just get there! Root for the Dolphins and root for the Chiefs!