Here's the Dolphins' Path to Clinching the AFC's No. 7 Seed in Week 18

Tyler Maher
Here's what needs to happen for the Miami Dolphins to clinch a playoff berth in Week 18.
Here's what needs to happen for the Miami Dolphins to clinch a playoff berth in Week 18. / ASSOCIATED PRESS

When December began, the Miami Dolphins were tied atop the AFC East with the Buffalo Bills at 8-3. Miami only needed to win one or two more games to lock up a playoff spot for the first time since 2016.

Instead, the Dolphins completely collapsed down the stretch, losing five straight games. Now 8-8, they're still alive in the postseason race but no longer control their own destiny.

Here's how Miami could still clinch the final AFC playoff spot in Week 18.

Miami Dolphins Playoff Scenario

For starters, the Dolphins need to beat the New York Jets at home. New York is also in a major slump and has lost five in a row as well, but the Jets won easily the last time they met, 40-17, in Week 5.

Miami also needs the Buffalo Bills to top the New England Patriots. That shouldn't be too hard for the Bills, who are playing at home and have dominated the Patriots recently. Buffalo will still be fighting for playoff positioning / the No. 1 seed in the AFC as well, so most of the Bills' starters should be active.

Based on FanDuel Sportsbook's NFL odds, Dolphins fans have reason to be cautiously optimistic. Miami is currently listed as a 2.5-point home favorite against New York, while Buffalo is an 8.5-point home favorite versus New England. If both games play out as expected, the Dolphins are in.

Miami's Week 18 odds will look much better if Tua Tagovailoa can return from his concussion, but his status remains up in the air heading into the final week of the regular season.

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