Complex AFC race leaves Dolphins with little choice but win out
As it increasingly turns out that the Miami Dolphins are firmly anchored in the middle of the AFC playoff race through December, Dolphins fans have started iterating through the teams' remaining schedules to find the right scenarios to see how they enter. If there was to be a playoff spot for Dolphins thanks to a combination of game results, it would be exposed by Miami fans. With two weeks left in the 2020 regular season and Miami currently holding onto seventh and final playoff spot in the AFC, there is no clear and obvious blueprint for a guide for Dolphins fans.
That is, of course, except for the Dolphins who run the table to end the season at 11-5. In this case, they are there no matter what.
However, finding playoff scenarios with the Dolphins at 10 wins is complicated at best. Miami would have to hope that a team like the Cleveland Browns lose their last two games. including one against the New York Jets this weekend. A loss by Baltimore Ravens to the Cincinnati Bengals in week 17 would also do the job. and while that feels possible after Cincinnati upset Pittsburgh on Monday night last night, it's still a long way to go.
Two losses at Indianapolis Colts would also be enough, although one would face Jacksonville and the other against Pittsburgh - and that result would be more of a disadvantage to the Dolphins than anything else. Why? Because the Buffalo Bills are fighting with the Steelers for AFC playoff positioning. The Bills won't catch the Chiefs for the # 1 seed, but the Bills can win the # 2 seed in week 16 with a win over New England and a Steelers loss to Indianapolis.
So Miami should be leaning on a team they're directly grappling with to beat one team in the overall standings in hopes of pulling a softer lineup from the reckoning in week 17 - which Buffalo likely only will if they have the 2 seeds banned before the game against Miami.
This is why the playoff scenarios for the Dolphins are so complex. Yes, Miami doesn't have to run the table to get in. But it would sure make this mess a lot easier to deal with if they did.
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