A 69-yard miracle touchdown gave the Miami Dolphins a stunning victory over the New England Patriots in Week 14. And from how the rest of the action on Sunday played out, it also may have saved their chances of making the playoffs. With the 34-33 win over Tom Brady and company, the Dolphins moved to 7-6 on the year, drastically improving their outlook.
While there’s still a ton of work to do, the Dolphins now find themselves mixed in a huge jumble of teams battling for (more than likely) one Wild Card spot. Currently, the Los Angeles Chargers (who play late Sunday) have a strong hold on the No. 5 seed with a 9-3 record, but the group just behind battling for the No. 6 spot is crowded.
Here’s a look at the standings with the 4 p.m. EST Week 14 games still being played.
- No. 1: Kansas City Chiefs (11-2)
- No. 2: New England Patriots (9-4)
- No. 3: Houston Texans (9-4)
- No. 4: Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4-1)
- No. 5: Los Angeles Chargers (9-3)
- No. 6: Baltimore Ravens (7-6)*
- No. 7: Indianapolis Colts (7-6)*
- No. 8: Miami Dolphins (7-6)*
- No. 9: Tennessee Titans (7-6)*
- No. 10: Denver Broncos (6-6)
All four teams in the AFC who currently sit at 7-6 (and possibly the Broncos with a win), would be facing an intense set of tiebreakers to decide who makes the playoffs. As things stand, the Ravens hold that final Wild Card spot, even after their overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Dolphins’ Current Playoff Outlook
According to a very in-depth breakdown of tiebreakers from ESPN, the Dolphins do still have some work to do, as they are behind both the Ravens and Colts for various reasons. The Ravens get the edge over Miami due to “best win percentage in common games” while the Colts have it due to head-to-head win percentage. The Dolphins fell 27-24 to Indianapolis three games ago, so they’ll need to leapfrog them in the final weeks.
For what it’s worth, Seth Walder of ESPN Analytics revealed that the Dolphins had a one percent chance to make the playoffs before the final play of the win over the Patriots. That wild lateral jumped their chances to nine percent, per live FPI projections.
Final Stretch of Season for Dolphins
Miami is certainly alive when it comes to their playoff hopes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still have an uphill climb. A Week 15 test against the Minnesota Vikings on the road will be huge in determining their fate. From there, the Dolphins draw winnable matchups against two 4-9 teams in the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills.
Although the final two games are easier than the one against the Vikings, the Dolphins likely need to win all three. And considering the Bills nearly knocked them off at home two weeks ago, it’s certainly not a spot to look past.