Image credit of Fritz Francois @fritzo00 (Instagram)
With their incredible last second win over the Patriots on Sunday, the 7-6 Miami Dolphins remained right in the thick of the AFC playoff picture. Kansas City’s win over Baltimore helped, but the Ravens currently remain in the final playoff spot thanks to an extended series of tiebreakers. Indianapolis and Tennessee also won, putting 4 teams at 7-6 headed into week 15.
These are some of the more likely Dolphins playoff scenarios:
Based on calculations, if the Dolphins win out to finish 10-6, it is a near certainty they would be in the playoffs.
The Colts and Titans play eachother week 17. One of them can not finish 10-6. The Ravens, even if they win out and finish at 10-6, at that point would no longer have the “record vs common opponents” tiebreaker over the Dolphins, who would have beaten the Bills a second time.
The Steelers in this scenario are the key, because one would assume they will not finish 10-5-1. They play the Patriots and the Saints the next two weeks. If they drop at least one of those and finish 9-6-1 or worse, the Dolphins would jump them and the Ravens could win the division.
In other words, win out, and the Dolphins are in.
Finish 9-7 with a loss to Minnesota
Losing on Sunday to Minnesota would not be a dagger to the Dolphins playoff chances, but it would force them to win the final two games. In this scenario, the Dolphins would have to hope they get a couple of losses from teams they’re currently tied with. Not impossible considering the Colts play the red hot Cowboys and the Titans travel to play the Giants. The Ravens should come out with a win at home against Tampa Bay.
But again, finishing with two AFC wins would be key, as first tiebreaker in a scenario where three or more teams finish with the same record is conference record. The Dolphins would then finish with a very strong 8-4 in conference record.
Finish tied with ONLY Titans or Ravens
In a two way tie between the Dolphins and the Titans, the Dolphins would be in based off their head to head win.
Since the Dolphins and Ravens do not play, a two way tie between them would bring up other tiebreakers such as the one currently being used of record vs common opponents. Beyond that, it could come down to strength of victory tiebreaker, which the Dolphins currently hold.
Finishing tied with ONLY the Colts would knock the Dolphins out due to their Week 12 loss head to head.
Finishing 9-7 with a loss to Buffalo or Jacksonville would hurt the Dolphins chances, as they’d lose ground in multiple tiebreak scenarios of conference record and common opponents.