Dolphins Playoff Update #1
It’s back! And boy, it has been a long time. This first update is to convey some general impressions about the Dolphins playoff chances and which games and teams to keep an eye on.
For the division: Buffalo. Even though Miami has the same amount of losses as Buffalo, I would give Buffalo the edge of winning the division if it comes down to a tie breaking scenario between the two teams. First reason is due to Buffalo having a two game edge (4-0 vs 1-2) in the division. In order for Miami to win the division via tiebreaker, they must defeat Buffalo in week 17 and Buffalo must lose to New England. Miami must also defeat New England and the Jets. If all that breaks Miami’s way, the next tie breaker comes down to common opponents. If we continue the assumptions from the previous sentences, that would leave Buffalo with a common opponent record of 6-3 while Miami’s would be 7-2. Each team has 3 other games that would determine who wins the tiebreaker. For Buffalo, those 3 games are Denver, San Fran, and the Chargers. For Miami, those three would be Denver, Las Vegas, and KC. As you can see, there is a lot of ambiguity here, but with a likely Miami loss to KC, Buffalo appears to have a slight edge here as well.
Wild Card Competition:
New England (4-5). Because New England is like Michael Myers. Each is evil and whenever one is counted out and left for dead, they magically get back up and keep going.
Las Vegas (6-3). Miami’s game with the Raiders will be a key swing for both teams.
Indy (6-3) and Tenn (6-3). One will win the division, the other will compete for one of the three Wild Card spots. Both teams have 3 losses in the AFC. If a tie comes down to common opponents, I like Miami’s chances against Indy more than Tenn. As of now, I think we should root for the Titans to win the division.
Balt (6-3) and Clev (6-3). Both have 3 losses in the AFC and neither plays Miami, so once again it may come down to a common opponent tiebreaker. Between Cleveland and Miami, the Browns’s common opponent record is 2-1 with games against Jax and the Jets outstanding. Miami’s is 2-0 with games against Cincy, the Jets, and Las Vegas remaining. Both teams finishing 5-1 in this tiebreaker appears possible, which means the next step is strength of schedule. Right now, Cleveland has the edge there. In a common opponent tiebreaker against Baltimore, Miami’s record is currently 1-1 with games against KC, Cincy, and NE left. Baltimore is 1-2, but their remaining games are just Cincy and Jax. Baltimore’s strength of schedule is even better than Cleveland’s, so they have the edge there as well.
I tend to believe that if Miami finishes 10-6, things will work out for them. However, the sheer amount of teams that are in the mix right now makes these possible tie breaking scenarios a bit more likely to come into play.