Five games after being atop the AFC East and in firm playoff position, the Dolphins enter week 18 in the eighth seed, not controlling their own destiny in the 2022 playoff picture. The season’s not over yet, though, and there is a path to the playoffs, first and foremost starting with their closer against the Jets.
What Happened Week 17
The Dolphins lost 23-21 against New England, the first loss they’ve had to the Patriots in five games. The result bolstered the Patriots’ chances and simultaneously hurt Miami’s.
The Raiders lost to the 49ers and got eliminated from the playoff picture, helping Miami.
The Titans lost to the Cowboys, taking them out of the wild-card picture (only in if they win the division), helping Miami.
Other playoff contenders: Steelers and Jaguars won.
What’s At Stake In Week 18
For Miami, it’s the number seven spot that they gave up on Sunday. The Dolphins aren’t in contention for any other playoff spot.
First of all, they need to beat the Jets and move to 9-8. If they don’t, there is no scenario allowing them to make the playoffs, given that New England will have the divisional record tiebreaker over them and a split head-to-head. The Dolphins got blown out 40-17 in their first meeting, but this will be a home game, and they started Skylar Thompson (his debut start) in the first meeting. Who will quarterback for them this week is currently up in the air.
Next, the Patriots need to lose to Buffalo. Since they have that aforementioned tiebreaker over the Dolphins, a Patriots win would knock Miami out. Buffalo, however, has been extremely successful against the Patriots this season, and in general are in some of the best form in the league. They’ve won five of the last six meetings against the Patriots, including the last three.
Because of their head-to-head win against the Steelers, they will have the tiebreaker over a 9-8 Pittsburgh and do not need to worry about the Steelers-Browns game.
In short, win and root for Buffalo if you’re a Dolphins fan.
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