The Miami Dolphins’ playoff games for 2020 look much more favorable this Sunday afternoon after a beautiful game decision during the NFL’s earlier week 16 Sunday. Miami kicked off perhaps the most favorable individual week of the season, scoring a stunning 26-25 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday night and shifting the team’s record to 10-5 with one game left.
But the Dolphins’ playoff chances still depended on winning in Buffalo during their Week 17 showdown; or at least it was until the matches came to an end at 1 p.m. Because the Cleveland Browns, who entered Week 16 with a 10-4 record and face the 1-13 New York Jets, lost 23-16. And the Indianapolis Colts, who also came in at 10-4 at the weekend, fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers with a 28-24 final, bringing a 17-point lead in the second half in the process.
That leaves the Dolphins, as things currently stand, as the AFC’s number 5 seed – no longer on the edge of the playing field, entering the last week of the season.
The Dolphins now have four ways to reach the post-season in Week 17:
Defeat the Buffalo Bills to move to 11-5
A loss to the Cleveland Browns for the Pittsburgh Steelers
A Baltimore Ravens loss to the Cincinnati Bengals
An Indianapolis Colts loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars
Miami, knowing they can win and be, definitely helps the case. But the Browns will face a Pittsburgh Steelers team that will battle with the Buffalo Bills for the AFC’s No. 2 series. There’s plenty to play for in Buffalo and Cleveland next weekend for the Bills and Steelers. So consider it. And while Miami lost nail-bitingly to the Bills in the second round without CB Byron Jones, the Browns lost 38-7 to the Steelers earlier in the season. The odds suddenly feel much more in the Dolphins’ favor.
Oh, reg. And as if that addition of events wasn’t enough for the Dolphins, the Houston Texans lost this afternoon to the Cincinnati Bengals, who pushed Miami’s first scheduled 2021 NFL draft pick into the top-5 overall picks with the consent of the Laremy Tunsil Trade. The Texans will face the Tennessee Titans in Week 17, fighting for the playoffs and the AFC South Division. A loss to the Texans next weekend will put the Dolphins in the top-5 pick next April.
It’s a good bend to place the turn of the Dolphins in Week 16.