By Abe Gutierrez
Heading into Week 16 of the 2016 NFL regular season, the (9-5) Miami Dolphins can clinch a Wild Card berth and get into the playoffs by simply winning out. However, the team has the Buffalo Bills on deck and the New England Patriots in Week 17, so the most likely scenario is that Miami will go 1-1 in what has turned into a two-game race to the playoffs.
Nevertheless, the Dolphins’ road to the postseason isn’t necessarily a straight line, as a little help could go a long way. That’s why, there are three teams Dolphins’ fan will be rooting for during this holiday weekend: the Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Kansas City Chiefs. Luckily, all three of these clubs will be at home in Week 16.
Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags will host the Tennessee Titans (Saturday at 1 p.m. ET). With a record of 8-6, the Titans caught fire at the right time, and thus, occupy the eighth spot in the AFC Conference standings. With head coach Mike Mularkey having recently entered the conversation for NFL Coach of the Year, Tennessee goes into Jacksonville winners of three straight games, and four of their last five. This should be a win for the Titans, as the Jags are among the worst teams in the league.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens
The second team every Dolphins’ fan will be rooting for this weekend is none other than the Pittsburgh Steelers. In Week 16, the Steel Curtain welcomes its division rival Baltimore Ravens to Heinz Field (Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET). Joe Flacco & Co. come into their Christmas Day matchup with an 8-6 record and sitting in seventh place in the AFC standings. Pittsburgh appears to be a great ally for Miami, as they are riding a five-game winning streak into Saturday’s matchup and a win secures the team the AFC North crown.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos
Finally, the last team everyone in South Florida will be rooting for is perhaps the most important one, but only for this week. Hosting the defending Super Bowl champion (8-6) Denver Broncos, the Kansas City Chiefs can do Miami a huge favor in the clincher of Sunday’s NFL Christmas Day double-header (Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET). That’s because a Fins win over Buffalo, coupled with a Chiefs win over the Broncos, would get Miami into the tournament.
After losing to the Patriots last week, the Broncos have really put themselves behind the proverbial 8-ball. Not only does Denver find itself sitting in the ninth spot in the AFC playoff picture, but will have the tall task of running the table to get in, beginning with a game at a hostile Arrowhead Stadium in Week 16.
Naturally, there are many factors that could play a role in Miami getting into the postseason, which is why Dolphins’ fans will be rooting for the Jaguars, Steelers and Chiefs in Week 16. The quicker that they can secure a playoff berth the better. It’s going to be interesting to see how things play out this Saturday and Sunday. However, first order of business for Miami is taking care of business against a head coach in Rex Ryan who would love nothing more than to spoil the Fins playoff hopes.