The Miami Dolphins control their own destiny to qualify for the postseason, but that won’t stop their fans from scoreboard watching in Week 16. Many Miami faithful would love for the team to clinch a playoff berth on Sunday in order to have a stress-free final week of the season while the risk takers of the bunch will be rooting for a few upsets that would keep the Dolphins’ chances of winning the AFC East and earning a first-round bye alive. Let’s take a look at which games to keep an eye on in Week 16 in addition to a key divisional showdown against the Buffalo Bills for Miami.
Dolphins fans will be monitoring this game, and hoping for a potential upset. If the Vikings can go into Cincinnati and pickup a victory, Miami would clinch a playoff berth with a win in Buffalo and a New England Patriots win later in the day. If the Patriots lose in the evening, a Minnesota victory would keep the Dolphins’ chances of earning a first-round bye intact. It isn’t likely, as the Vikings own one of the league’s most penetrable defenses and the Bengals have yet to lose a home game, but an upset would provide a major opportunity for the Dolphins, regardless of what transpires in the other games.
Root for: Minnesota
If the Dolphins are to do the improbable and earn a first-round bye, the Colts will need to lose one more game. Considering they play the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 17, that loss will likely need to come on Sunday in Kansas City.
Root for: Kansas City
New England Patriots (10-4) at Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
This game is a bit tricky. On one hand, the Dolphins could potentially clinch the sixth seed on Sunday with a Ravens’ loss, but on the other, they would be division champs if they win out and the Patriots lose out. If Miami falls in Buffalo, there’s no question its fans should pull for New England. But if the Dolphins take care of business in Week 16, and you can trust them to beat the New York Jets in Week 17, so why not root for the AFC East title? The Patriots rarely lose two consecutive games, but beating a Ravens team on the road that has won four straight will be tall order.
Root for: Baltimore if you trust Miami, New England if you don’t
It would be a moot point if the Dolphins win out or clinch a playoff spot on Sunday, but San Diego can help Miami by winning its final two games. If the Dolphins, Ravens and Chargers all finish 9-7, the AFC‘s final playoff spot would be awarded to the Dolphins based on what would be a superior conference record. The Chargers are expected to dominate the lowly Raiders.
Root for: San Diego