Here’s a quick Christmas Eve primer involving both the AFC and NFC playoff outlook for Dolphins, Bucs and also, the Jags game with Tennessee.
Up first, the Dolphins are very much in the picture and there is actually a scenario where they win in Buffalo early and everything else falls right, and by the time Christmas night is over, Miami makes playoffs. That involves, Tennessee, Houston, Baltimore, and Denver all losing their games Saturday or Sunday night.
Also, the Fins know that if they win both Saturday and home with the Pats next Sunday, they need no other help. They are in.
Next, the Buccaneers could also be in the playoffs by the time the games are over Monday night. First, they obviously need at win at the Saints and if they get these losses, they’re in: Packers lose to Vikings, Redskins lose at Bears, and finally Lions losing at Cowboys. At that point the Bucs would be 9-6 and Washington cannot catch them. And, the Packers would play the Lions in a winner take all for the NFC North while the loser is out on tiebreakers to Tampa Bay.
The Bucs also would be in position to control their own playoff destiny in week 17 by winning at the Superdome and simply having the Lions lose Monday night. And, if the Panthers upset the Falcons at home early and the Buccaneers beat the Saints later, they control their own destiny to win the South and obviously, host a playoff game by wining in week 17.
Finally, in Jacksonville, the Jags, with nine straight losses, are the ultimate spoiler with the 8-6 Titans. They cannot clinch with a win, but if Tennessee wins, then they get to host a winner take all game for the AFC South with the Texans in week 17. Obviously, the Jaguars can mess that up with an upset of the Titans early and depending on other action, Tennessee could also be eliminated by Sunday night.
Bottom line, you will need extra screens and eyeballs on Christmas Eve to keep track of it all!