Unlike the other five AFC teams competing on Wild Card weekend, the Miami Dolphins know exactly who they’ll play next week if they defeat the Buffalo Bills.
Thanks to Jason Sanders’ go-ahead field goal and the New York Jets’ subsequent failed lateral attempt on the final play of the game, the Miami Dolphins are headed to the NFL postseason for the first time since 2016.
The Dolphins qualified for the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in the AFC, meaning they are set to match up against the No. 2 seed Buffalo Bills on Wild Card weekend. That game is set for 1:00 p.m. ET this coming Sunday afternoon.
While the Dolphins have no way of hosting a playoff game this year as the lowest seeded team in the AFC, they are the only team in the conference that knows exactly who their opponent will be if they come away from the Wild Card weekend with an upset victory.
In the NFL, the playoffs don’t utilize a traditional bracket. No matter what happens in the Wild Card round, the top seeded team always plays the lowest seeded remaining team in the Divisional Round.
This ensures that a Dolphins victory over the Bills would send them to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs.
The Chiefs clinched the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye by beating the Las Vegas Raiders this past Saturday afternoon, and with that, a home playoff game in the Divisional Round. If the Dolphins beat the Bills, that home playoff game would be against Miami.
Of course, there are plenty of other things for the Dolphins to worry about than playing the Chiefs in two weeks.
While they have actually matched up quite well with the Bills this year, winning at home by a score of 21-19 in Week 3 and putting up a good fight in a tough 32-29 Week 15 loss in Orchard Park, there are questions as to whether or not quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will be ready to go for Sunday.
Tagovailoa has had a breakout season in 2022, posting a passer rating of 105.5 with 3,548 yards and 25 touchdowns through the air, but injuries have plagued him throughout the campaign. He hasn’t taken a snap since the Dolphins’ Christmas Day game in Week 16 against the Green Bay Packers.
The status of backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is also unknown.