Statistics Say Dolphins Win Against Bills Would All but Guarantee First Playoff Birth Since 2008

The Miami Dolphins are, shockingly, not bad. This is a revelation that continues to prove itself as fact on a weekly basis, regardless of how few people believe it to be true. Unlike Santa's sleigh in the movie Elf, neither Christmas spirit nor belief in the 2016 Miami Dolphins is a requirement for their success to continue. The Dolphins just keep winning in spite of a rash of injuries that have crippled entire units of their football team as well as the starting quarterback.

None of this makes any sense, but here we are.

This Saturday at 1 p.m., the Dolphins face off against the Buffalo Bills with a playoff spot on the line — not a hypothetical playoff spot, but pretty much a damned guaranteed playoff spot. According to famed statistician Nate Silver's website FiveThirtyEight, a Dolphins win would give the team a 92% chance of making the playoffs, regardless of whether they win or lose in Week 17 in New England. A loss, however, would drop the Dolphins' playoff probability to just 28%.

Long story short: The Miami Dolphins' Cinderella 2016 season is almost assured to gift Dolphins fans their first playoff game since 2008 if they beat the Bills Saturday. If the Dolphins don't beat the Bills, Week 17 in New England gets weird.

The Patriots could theoretically have nothing to play for if things fall the right way this weekend. They have already clinched a first-round bye in the playoffs and are now only competing with Oakland for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. If they acquire that this weekend, you can bet Patriots-Dolphins will be a battle of the backups in the final week of the regular season.

If the Patriots don't clinch before the final week of the season and the Dolphins end up losing to the Bills, hold onto your butts because a whole lot of hurt is on the horizon.

The last thing the Dolphins want to do is risk needing a win in Week 17 against a New England Patriots team that is motivated to clinch home field. This is not a fight the Dolphins want, especially with Matt Moore under center.

If the Dolphins want to make the playoffs this year, beating Buffalo on Saturday is the path with the least booby-traps. If they take the tougher route that Dolphins fans have seen them risk in the past, a serious humbling could be on the horizon.

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Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.
Contact: Ryan Yousefi