After not getting a lot of help over the past couple of weeks, the Miami Dolphins saw almost every game go their way Sunday afternoon — for draft and playoff positioning.
The two teams in action coming in with 10-4 records, the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts, both suffered what could be considered improbable losses — for different reasons.
The Dolphins also saw the first-round pick they own from the Houston Texans reach the top five when Houston sustained a 27-21 loss against the Cincinnati Bengals — and it could move up to fourth if Carolina defeats Washington.
The playoff-contending Baltimore Ravens did win Sunday, easily defeating the New York Giants, but that game was meaningless to the Dolphins in terms of playoff implications.
In fact, the only result that was disappointing from the 1 p.m. games was Atlanta not being able to pull off an upset at Kansas City because that would have moved up the Houston pick one more spot.
So this is where things stand through the 1 p.m. games of Week 16 in terms of the Dolphins' playoff scenarios:
As we've indicated all along, the Dolphins don't need any help because if they defeat the Buffalo Bills in Week 17, they'll not only be in the playoffs, they'll have the fifth seed. Based on the current standings, that would mean a first-round matchup against the Tennessee Titans and quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
If the Dolphins lose at Buffalo, they'll need one of these three results to make the playoffs:
-- Baltimore losing at Cincinnati.
-- Indianapolis losing at home against Jacksonville.
-- Cleveland losing at home against Pittsburgh.
It's important to note that both Buffalo and Pittsburgh have clinched a division title, but no longer have a shot at the first seed in the AFC and the one bye in the first round because the Kansas City Chiefs clinched it Sunday afternoon.
So it'll be interesting to see if the Bills and/or Steelers rest any front-line players even if a victory could improve their playoff seeding, which could make the difference between a home game or road game in the second round.