A look at the Dolphins' dim playoff chances

December, 5, 2010
12/05/10
8:06
PM ET
The Miami Dolphins woke up Sunday morning with negligible playoff hopes and then lost another home game. The Cleveland Browns kicked a field goal as time expired to beat the Dolphins 13-10 in Sun Life Stadium.

The Dolphins, however, are not mathematically eliminated from the postseason race.

With help from ESPN.com's NFL Playoff Machine, which is updated up until the Sunday night game, I've worked up some projections by toggling through the remaining weeks.

Since winning out to finish 10-6 alone won't get the Dolphins into the playoffs, they need to combine that with a near-winless collapse for one of the teams ahead of them in the standings.

So we begin with the premise the Dolphins win the rest of their games and consider the following:
  • If the Jets don't win another game, then the Dolphins project as the sixth seed.
  • If the Patriots win one or fewer games, then the Dolphins project as the sixth seed.
  • If the Jets lose to the Patriots but win just one other game, then the Dolphins still project out of the playoffs.
  • If the Baltimore Ravens win one or fewer games, then the Dolphins project as the sixth seed.
  • If the Pittsburgh Steelers win one or fewer games, then the Dolphins project as the sixth seed.
  • If the Indianapolis Colts lose the rest of their games, then the Dolphins still project out of the playoffs.

Using the NFL Draft Machine's automated filters on the entire remaining NFL schedule but changing all of the Dolphins' games to victories to finish 10-6:
  • If win percentages hold up aside from the Dolphins winning out, then they would not make the playoffs.
  • If ESPN.com's latest Power Rankings hold up aside from the Dolphins winning out, then they would not make the playoffs.
  • If home-field advantage holds up aside from the Dolphins winning out, then the Dolphins would not make the playoffs.

Sort through the games and work out some other combinations to share in the comments section.

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