The Miami Dolphins head into Week 15 in a four-way tie for the AFC’s final Wildcard position. They have a chance to make the post season for the second time in three years if they can keep winning, while also getting some help from around the league. What hep do they need?
That is what we bring you this afternoon. Looking at the weekend’s slate of games, we break down for which teams you should be rooting Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
Houston Texans at New York Jets, 1pm ET
This game only makes the list in order to keep the Texans from falling back into the Wildcard chase if either Indianapolis or Tennessee is able to make a run at the division title. A Jets win would assist Miami’s strength of victory, but Houston clinching the AFC South is more important. Root for: Texans.
Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos, Saturday 8:20pm ET
The Browns and the Broncos are both in the AFC Playoff picture, with Denver at 6-7 and Cleveland 5-7-1. This is simply about the team with the better record losing. Root for: Browns.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Baltimore Ravens, 1pm ET
This seems straight forward. The Ravens are in the sixth seed, and Miami wants it. That should mean the Ravens losing is the best move for Miami. Instead, I am going to go another route. The Ravens could still move into the Afc North Lead, which would take them out of the Wildcard hunt - and Pittsburgh’s tie, which a couple of weeks ago would have been beneficial for them, would now work against them as Miami would leap in front of them. Root for:
Oakland Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals, 1pm ET
This one is actually pretty easy as well. The Dolphins beat the Raiders, so now that Oakland is out of the playoffs, the better their record, the better it is for Miami. Miami lost to the Bengals, and Cincinnati is still in playoff contention at 5-8. Eliminating them is the goal. Root for: Raiders.
Tennessee Titans at New York Giants, 1pm ET
Another easy one. Tennessee is tied with Miami at 7-6. New York is in the NFC. Root for: Giants.
Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings, 1pm ET
Root for: Dolphins.
Dallas Cowboys at Indianapolis Colts, 1pm ET
Same set up as the Titans-Giants, with the Colts tied with Miami at 7-6 and Dallas in the NFC. Basically Dolphins fans are NFC East fans this week. Root for: Cowboys.
New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers, 4:25pm ET
Technically, Miami has two paths to the playoffs. They have the Wildcard slot, and they have a slim shot at the AFC East. However, they would have to see the Patriots lose two of their last three, plus Miami win out, for the AFC East, and that is not likely. Instead, as explained above, the Dolphins could see the Ravens move into the AFC North lead, with the Steelers falling into the Wildcard hunt, and Miami would move ahead of them in that chase - which may be the better result. Root for: Patriots.
Strength of Victory/Schedule Impacts:
Detroit Lions at Buffalo Bills - Root for: Bills
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears - Root for: Bears
Washington Redskins at Jacksonville Jaguars - Root for: Jaguars
Games with no impact:
Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons, 1pm ET
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers, 4:05pm ET
Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams, 8:20pm ET
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers, 8:15pm ET