For the first time in several years for both, the Bucs and the Dolphins are playoff relevant as we head to the stretch run in December. So, we will do our part at F.F.I. to keep track of their progress, hopes, help they may need, etc. Here we go for this week:
With the win in San Diego, Tampa Bay is now 7-5 and tied for the NFC South lead with the Falcons. Atlanta currently holds the tiebreaker with a better (3-1) division record. But the Bucs play the Saints Sunday, while the Falcons play at the Rams. So, if they both win, then they are completely tied at 8-5 and 3-1 in the South for the potential home playoff game.
The Buccaneers are also in the six spot in the NFC Wildcard position. They are a half game in front of the Redskins who are 6-5-1 and a full game in front of the Vikings and Packers who are 6-6. So obviously, at this juncture, the Bucs control their own destiny and need no other help to make the NFC playoffs, as at least the six seed, if not the five seed Wildcard team, if they win out. That’s exactly what you want headed down the stretch. Bucs in good shape for now.
The loss Sunday in Baltimore hurt the Fins for two reasons. One, it dropped their record to 7-5 and back out of the tie for the six spot in the AFC Wildcard race with Denver, as the Broncos won in Jacksonville and are 8-4. Two, if it comes to it, there’s the important head to head loss to the Ravens, who are now 7-5. Baltimore also leads the AFC North over Pittsburgh who is also at 7-5. This is because of a head to head win, but if they end up tied with the Dolphins, they now would get the Wildcard.
The Dolphins do have a head to head win over the Steelers, if it comes down to those two later in race. Miami’s main concern is that Denver is a game in front at 8-4 and Kansas City two in front at 9-3 for those spots. The Dolphins best hope is to keep obviously keep winning, starting with the home game Sunday with the Cardinals. Then, have Denver lose at least once, if not more. The Broncos do have a tough finish in their final four games starting Sunday at Tennessee, then host New England, play at K.C., and finish hosting the Raiders.
Bottom line, lots of football left and in Tampa Bay and Miami. You must keep wining, first.