The Dolphins didn’t do themselves any favors with their loss at Buffalo today, but Miami did get some relatively good news in the late-afternoon window of games, as the Ravens’ loss to New England and the Chargers’ win over Oakland has set up a mad dash to the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC.
The Dolphins, Ravens, Chargers and Steelers are all mathematically alive heading into the final week of the regular season and only one of those four teams will make it to the playoffs.
Here are those teams’ schedules for Week 17: Dolphins host Jets; Ravens visit Bengals; Chargers host Chiefs and Steelers host Browns.
So what needs to happen for the Dolphins to find themselves playing in January? Continue reading to find out…
(Note: For the purposes of simplicity, we are only using scenarios involving wins and losses, not ties.)
Here are the possible outcomes of games on Sunday that involve a Dolphins win over the Jets:
Dolphins, Chargers and Ravens all win. The Dolphins go to playoffs (based on conference record).
Ravens and Dolphins win, Chargers lose. The Ravens go to playoffs (based on head-to-head).
Dolphins and Chargers win, Ravens lose. The Dolphins go to playoffs (based on head-to-head).
Dolphins win, Chargers and Ravens lose. The Dolphins go to playoffs (based on having better record).
If the Dolphins lose, they cannot make the playoffs. If there’s a four-way tie at 8-8 between Miami, San Diego, Baltimore and the Jets (who, by beating the Dolphins, would be 8-8), Baltimore wins the Wild Card. If there’s a five-way tie between those teams and the Steelers, Pittsburgh would win the final spot in the playoffs.
Check out this tweet if you’re interested in scenarios involving ties.