AFC Wildcard Race Is Clear As Mud
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After Sunday’s victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Miami Dolphins are in a prime position to make a playoff run.
The Dolphins (7-6) play just one more team with a winning record, the New England Patriots on Sunday, for the rest of the season. The Fins then have games against the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, both under .500 on the season, to close out the regular season.
The Baltimore Ravens are the team Miami is racing with to get the final playoff spot. The Ravens will finish with games at the Detroit Lions, at home against the New England Patriots, and then at the Cincinnati Bengals, all three of which are division leaders.
Assuming both teams finished with an identical record, the Ravens would own a tiebreaker over the Fins thanks to a victory over Miami earlier this season. But, the numbers at this point seem to favor the Dolphins.
According to Playoffstatus.com, which analyzes each team’s chances of making the playoffs; the Dolphins currently have a 54 percent chance of capturing the final wild card position in the AFC. The Ravens, according to the site, have a 30 percent chance of getting into the final wild card spot.
That said, there are still multiple scenarios that can play out over the final few weeks for the Fins, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.
The Herald said if the Fins and Ravens both go 1-2 in their final three games and the San Diego Chargers go 2-1 in the same span; the Fins would win a three-team tiebreaker if the Ravens two losses in their final three games are to AFC teams.
But wait, there’s more!
According to the Herald, if the Jets come storming back and finish with a record tied with Baltimore and Miami; if the Dolphins beat the Jets in the final game of the season, the Ravens would get the nod based on beating Miami earlier this year.
Believe it or not, the Dolphins can still win the AFC East if New England loses its final three games and Miami wins its final three games. Although the chances of that happening are increasingly slim.
If the Ravens go 3-0 in the final games of the regular season and the Cincinnati Bengals go 1-2, the teams would tie and Baltimore would win the tiebreaker by beating the Bengals in the final game of the regular season.
The Fins would win a tiebreaker in that scenario over the Bengals if the two teams finished tied for the final wild card spot.
Here’s the schedule for the Dolphins, Ravens, Bengals, Jets, and Patriots:
- Dolphins: vs. Patriots (10-3); at Bills (4-9); vs. Jets (6-7)
- Ravens: at Lions (7-6); vs. Patriots (10-3); at Bengals (9-4)
- Bengals: at Steelers (5-8); vs. Vikings (3-9-1); vs. Ravens (7-6)
- Jets: at Panthers (9-4); vs. Browns (4-9); at Dolphins (7-6)
- Patriots: at Dolphins (7-6); at Ravens (7-6); vs. Bills (4-9)
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Miami Herald contributed to this report.)