The Miami Dolphins eliminated the Buffalo Bills from playoff contention on Saturday, December 24th. Their game went to overtime with Miami winning late 34-31. The result worsened the Bills to 7-8 and they can no longer entertain even far-fetched hopes of making the playoffs. Meanwhile Miami improved to 10-5 and their playoff hopes are not far-fetched ones at all.

Miami fans watching scores on Xmas

Miami fans will be doing some scoreboard watching on Christmas Day as they pay attention to the KC Chiefs and Denver Broncos. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens also play, but I don't think that game matters much to Miami anymore except for in a remote scenario.

In regard to Pitt/Baltimore, let's assume that Miami finishes 10-6. If Baltimore finish 10-6 then they would win the AFC North and be out of the Wild Card picture. In that scenario, Pitt could do no better than a 10-6 record however Miami own a win over Pitt for the tiebreaker. If Pitt beat Baltimore it clinches the division for the Steelers and Baltimore can't get to 10 wins any longer. That simplifies things for Miami fans.

With the Chiefs' game against Denver, one component of Miami's playoff push has to do with the fact that they can still finish as the top Wild Card team. That's not a huge edge in the playoffs, but it would make them the 5th seed in the AFC playoffs instead of the 6th seed.

From that point of view, Miami fans would cheer against the 10-4 Chiefs on Sunday.

However, Miami have to face the New England Patriots in Week 17 for what could very well be a loss. Accordingly, overtaking KC seems unrealistic at this point. It may sound like settling, but Miami fans should probably be satisfied with a 6th seed.

From that point of view, Miami fans should cheer for the Chiefs on Christmas Day to make the Denver Broncos go 8-7. That would eliminate the Broncos from post-season contention. I think that result alone clinches a playoff berth for Miami. However, in the earlier game Baltimore plays Pitt and Miami fans should hope that Baltimore loses to the Steelers to prevent any complex tiebreaker possibilities as discussed below.

What are the doomsday scenarios for Miami?

In all doomsday scenarios, Miami would have to lose next week. Any scenario that sees them out of the post-season has to presuppose a 10-6 record because 11-5 gets them in. But it's possible that Denver, KC, Miami, and Pittsburgh all end up 10-6 with none of them winning a divisional title. That would lead to the invocation of complex tiebreaker scenarios that most football fans don't want to figure out. However, Miami could end up on the outside looking in still after the NFL applies them.

To avoid that, Miami fans should cheer for Pittsburgh on Christmas and for KC. With everything crunched, Miami does look very probable to make the post-season following the win over the Bills.

At this point, Miami do not want to end up involved in a three-way or four-way tie for two Wild Card spots.

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