The NFL Wildcard Weekend is scheduled to officially kick off Saturday, January 9, 2021. With a 7-4 record, the Dolphins are one game behind Buffalo for the AFC East crown and tied for the final Wildcard spot — tiebreaker gives Miami sixth seed — with five games remaining.
All of this means that the playoffs unofficially start for the Dolphins on Sunday, December 6, when they take on the Bengals.
Current playoff picture
- Pittsburgh Steelers 11-0.
- Kansas City Chiefs 10-1.
- Tennessee Titans 8-3.
- Buffalo Bills 8-3.
- Cleveland Browns 8-3.
- Miami Dolphins 7-4.
- Indianapolis Colts 7-4.
Outside Looking In
- Las Vegas Raiders 6-5.
- Baltimore Ravens 6-5.
- New England Patriots 5-6.
That College Football feel
The NFL schedulers put together the makings of a fantastic finish. Miami’s final four games all feature playoff teams just ahead of them or teams on their heels trying to make the cut. Every win from this point on will be a monumental shift in standings and actual playoff hopes.
- Week 13 – Cincinnati Bengals.
- Week 14 – Kansas City Chiefs.
- Week 15 – New England Patriots.
- Week 16 – Las Vegas Raiders.
- Week 17 – Buffalo Bills.
What’s at stake
While unlikely, it is possible. If the Dolphins win out, they are guaranteed a playoff spot. Interestingly enough, Miami could win out and still not win the division. If the Bills only lose to the Dolphins to close out the season they would still own the tiebreaker.
This would mean Miami would walk into the playoffs as the five seed. And quite frankly, no one would want to face this wildcard team. That is because this scenario means wins over the Raiders, Bills, and Chiefs down the stretch. No team would be considered more dangerous at that point.
This would still be a pretty remarkable finish. This scenario means that Miami defeated at least one playoff team down the stretch. A win over Kansas City or Buffalo validates that the Dolphins belong as a legitimate contender. This scenario would also guarantee a playoff berth.
This would be the expected finish for Miami at this point. The expectation would be for the Dolphins to beat the teams with lower records and lose to the Bills and Chiefs. This most likely would give the Dolphins a shot at the actual playoffs but the math may come down to Week 17 finishes.
Nonetheless, Miami has shattered expectations all year, so who’s to say that won’t continue with winning more than three games down the stretch.
Definitely no shot at the division with a 2-3 finish. The playoff hopes would be bleak also. Especially if those three losses come against the Patriots, Raiders and Bills.
Miami would need a lot of help in this scenario. The Dolphins would finish the season 9-7 and that should be celebrated considering last season’s record. However, the Dolphins nor their fans are entertaining this notion at the moment.
This is why the Dolphins have to stay focused and take it one game at a time. It is quite possible that Miami may only be favored in one of their remaining five games. Nevertheless, a 1-4 finish would be disappointing.
Miami would not only be disqualified from playoff contention, but this would also be a complete 180-degree turn to the strong finish that they had last season.
The unthinkable finish and probably the least likely. This finish has to be avoided at all costs. Miami would finish outside of the playoffs and with a losing record. All of this would set up a very long offseason for fans and Miami’s decision-makers.
Regardless of it all, the Dolphins have blessed its fans with something meaningful to cheer for the rest of the season.
Share your comments on how the Dolphins will finish the final five games.