The NFL enters, officially, week 16 of the season once the Monday Night Football game is over. The Miami Dolphins' road to the playoffs started Monday morning.
Miami will host the Cowboys this week then travel to Baltimore before wrapping the season at home against the barrelling freight train, Buffalo.
Can the Miami Dolphins secure a playoff spot in week 16? Yes, they can clinch both the AFC East and at least a Wild Card. Here is what has to happen for Miami to lock up a spot in the postseason.
The top seed in the AFC
Miami can move back into the number one seed in the AFC next week if the Ravens lose to the 49ers in San Francisco and beat the Cowboys. Miami will still need to beat the Ravens a week later. Miami must beat the Ravens to have a shot at the number one seed but seeding will likely have to wait until week 18 to settle.
The Miami Dolphins can win the AFC East
There are three games to go. If the Dolphins beat the Cowboys and the Bills lose to the hapless Chargers, Miami will win the division. They will have a three-game lead with two games to go.
Clinching a Wild Card spot is possible but not guaranteed.
If the Miami Dolphins beat the Cowboys they are in. The Dolphins would have 11 wins with two games to go. That takes the Steelers and Broncos out of the picture. The Texans, Colts, and Bengals all have 8-6 records. The Bengals play the Steelers, the Colts play the Falcons, and the Texans play Cleveland.
The Bengals would not be able to take a spot away from the Dolphins. They have only three wins in the AFC Conference, Miami has 7. That is the top tie-breaker for teams who have not faced each other. If the Dolphins, Bengals, and either the Colts or Texans ended with the same record, Miami would get in.
In week 18, both the Texans and Colts play each other which means one of those teams can not take a spot away from the Dolphins. That means Miami, at worst, would secure a 7th seed with a win over the Cowboys on Sunday.
Currently, the race for the final three WC spots are up for grabs
- 5 - Browns - 9-5
- 6 - Bengals - 8-6
- 7 - Colts - 8-6
- 8 - Texans - 8-6
- 9 - Bills - 8-6
- 10 - Steelers - 7-7
- 11 - Broncos - 7-7
Can the Miami Dolphins secure a playoff spot with a loss to the Cowboys? The short answer is not likely but there may be a scenario of losses by other teams that could make that at least a slim possibility.
For the Dolphins as a team, nothing should matter at all but beating the Cowboys. The rest will take care of itself.
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