San Diego’s upset of Denver last night could help the Dolphins if everything breaks right, but also could hurt them if the Chargers keep winning and Miami and Baltimore stumble down the stretch.
Miami, of course, would win a two-tie tiebreaker with San Diego and lose a two-team tiebreaker to Baltimore, based on head-to-head matchups.
A reminder on the remaining schedules for each:
Miami (7-6): Patriots, at Bills, Jets.
Baltimore (7-6): at Detroit, Patriots, at Cincinnati.
San Diego (7-7): home against Oakland and Kansas City.
Here’s how the three-team tiebreakers would break down:
### If the Dolphins and Baltimore both go 2-1 down the stretch and San Diego 2-0, then Miami would win a three-team tiebreaker only if one of Baltimore’s losses is against New England or Cincinnati. That’s because the Dolphins would finish with a superior conference record in that scenario.
If Baltimore wins both its AFC games in that scenario but loses to Detroit, Baltimore would win the three-team tiebreaker for this reason: The Dolphins and Ravens would finish with the same conference record, which would be better than San Diego’s under any circumstances. The Chargers then would be eliminated from the tiebreaker and Baltimore would earn the playoff berth based on its win against Miami.
### If the Dolphins and Baltimore go 1-2 down the stretch and San Diego 1-1, then the Ravens’ losses would need to come against the Patriots and Bengals for Miami to win the three-team tiebreaker. Miami would finish with the best conference record in that scenario.
Otherwise, Baltimore would win the tiebreaker.
### Though San Diego’s win last night could help the Dolphins if everything breaks right for Miami in a three-team tiebreaker, the concern is that the Chargers end the year with two home games and would claim the final playoff spot if they win both AND if Miami and Baltimore both go 1-2.