The Miami Dolphins won’t play until Monday night but on Sunday, their playoff hopes could hinge on whether or not the Bills can beat the Patriots.
There are so many things that need to be in play for the Dolphins to eventually end up with one of the final two Wild Card spots for this year’s post season. We outlined the way Miami can get into the 8th seed a short while ago. You can read that here.
What we didn’t really mention in depth was how this one game could impact the Dolphins playoff chances. The Chargers and the Bills both hold the final two playoff spots right now. The Chargers will play the Texans this weekend are not likely going to lose that game. They face the Raiders and Broncos to round out their season and are not likely going to lose either of them.
If the Chargers win out and they will be favored to do so, only one spot will be up for grabs and the Dolphins need to finish the season tied with the Patriots at worst.
Currently the Patriots are 9-5 while the Bills are 8-6 and Miami of course, is 7-7. Miami could move up to 8-7 with a win against the Saints. If the Bills win they move to 9-6 and the Patriots fall to 9-6.
The Bills remaining schedule is a cakewalk. The Patriots are the toughest team they will face as they will wrap the year against the Falcons and Jets. In other words, the Bills are likely to walk into the playoffs even if they lose to the Patriots. With the Chargers likely walking in as well, the Bills need to take the division and put the Patriots competing for a WC spot.
The Patriots remaining games are the Bills, Jaguars, and Dolphins. If the Patriots lose to the Bills it won’t matter what happens against the Jaguars because the showdown in Miami week 18 will decide which team will be eliminated.
There are no guarantees that either team would face a “win and you’re in” scenario but the loser won’t advance in the tie-breaking scenarios with other teams because the first elimination comes from head-to-head division games. The Dolphins, with a win on the final weekend, would knock out the Patriots.
Now you know who you need to root for in a big divisional game that could have a huge impact on what happens in two weeks.