Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

TD Sports Debate – Last AFC playoff spot down to three (part one)


It’s almost playoff time in the NFL and the final wildcard spot in the AFC is up for grabs. Who’s in? Who’s way, way out? And is this really a three team race? Dan Salem and Todd Salem tackle this topic head on in this week’s TD Sports Debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate sports.



The top three teams in the AFC all lost this past week. Poor New England Patriots… haha, yeah right. Nevertheless, there remains just one open spot for the playoffs in the AFC: the sixth seed. With a handful of competitors still battling, it’s time to remove the pretenders.

Miami Dolphins, in or out?



The Dolphins are hard because they have undergone such drastic changes this season. They started off the year 3-0 to build everyone’s confidence. They then went on a four game losing streak. This was brought on by the locker room bullying scandal which resulted in, not only discourse throughout the team, but also the decimation of their offensive line. The losing streak was also not helped by the toughening of their schedule. Three of those four losses were to possible playoff teams.

From that point, the team rallied a bit and began to overcome the distractions. It started with a week nine win over Cincinnati. Miami won five of their next seven games, culminating with their win Sunday over New England. The offensive line is back to where it was before the Incognito and Martin removals occurred. And the team secured valuable, tiebreaker wins over San Diego and Pittsburgh during this stretch.

More importantly though is what’s coming up. The Dolphins have two games remaining: at 5-9 Buffalo and hosting 6-8 New York. Both are obviously divisional rivals, and the Jets game may hold playoff implications on both ends if things break right.

Having lost to Baltimore earlier in the year, Miami fails to hold the precious tiebreaker over the Ravens. They are also not quite as good as their record according to point differential, a great determining factor in team quality. Miami is just +14 on the season.

According to the Pythagorean Expectation (a mathematical formula based on point differential that gives you the expected winning percentage and win total of the team), Miami is playing a bit over its head. Their points for and against suggest a team that should have won 52.7% of its games, finishing the season with around eight wins. Instead, they are already at eight wins and have a winning percentage above 57%.

Miami’s other weakness is running the football. They rank in the bottom third of the league in rushing yards. Even in their latest win, over the Pats, Miami failed to eclipse 90 yards on the ground or reach 4.0 yards per carry for the day.

In the end, it seems the Dolphins have a good shot at the playoffs but I say they fall short. Buffalo is no pushover by any means and the season’s final game against New York will have Miami facing one of the best rushing defenses in the NFL. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been very good this season, just not quite good enough.

Miami? I say OUT.

That was an easy one. San Diego Chargers, in or out?



Miami is definitely OUT, for all those numerical reasons you mentioned and because they are the Dolphins and will find a way to lose to both the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. This leaves them at 8-8, exactly where your numbers placed them and on the outside of the playoffs looking in.

That leads us to the Chargers as our second contender for the final AFC playoff spot and they are in. In with a bang! Sorry Ravens, we’ll get to you next, but San Diego is stealing this playoff spot.

The Chargers are coming off a huge win versus Denver with everything to play for. They face the crappy Oakland Raiders followed by Kansas City in the final week. I fully expect the Chiefs to have nothing to play for in week 17, opting to rest their guys as is often the coaches choice. The Chargers will beat up the Raiders and squeak by a half staffed Chiefs squad finishing an impressive 9-7.

I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t think the Chargers were a playoff team, but in this crazy NFL season it seems they are in fact IN.

You know how I feel. Baltimore Ravens, in or out?


[Part two - Ravens sub-par title defense]

Tags: AFC Miami Dolphins NFL Nfl Playoffs San Diego Chargers

  • Norman Jemal

    Dan -before u say Miami is out for sure why don’t u check ur numbers before u write this .
    Chargers can finish at best 9-7 not 10-6
    Dolphins are in

  • Robert Berry

    You idiots keep doubting miami over and over… i swear, the dolphins could win the superbowl and dumbasss journalists will have some excuse to why they “somehow got a W” just face it, dolphins are a playoff team this year hate it or love it

  • Bill Stowers

    Dolphins are in they will win out and the ravens are losing this week. Calling it. This is just a biased article written by 2 depressed new york fans. Stats dont mean anything except for wins. The texans have the 11 best offense an the 4th best defense in the league. Are they playoff bound guys? This is trash. Fins up.

    • Norman Jemal

      And they have the chargers going 10-6 to beat out Miami when they can only go 9-7 at best .stupid people

      • Guest

        LOOK who got shut out by the Bills this week!

  • Jimmy Manis

    By the way if dolphins win out and New England loses tgere last two. We can win our division. Just saying.

  • Patel

    Look at Dans bio. He is from Boston which is all you need to know about his opinion. First off stats are crap, they can be skewed and never account for all variables. I don’t trust them at all. So if you were truly basing your opinions on these stats we will see how that works out for you.

    Second, you know what is really out Dan? Your team (Patriots). As a dolphins fan we had to endure losing Marino and you will soon endure losing Brady. We are now on the upswing and you team will continue to sink. Good luck with your cocky attitude then.

    Go Fins!!

  • Fins4life.

    This guy Dan should not be allowed to put his biased opinions on paper so to speak. But you what they say bout opinions. And Dan my friend you are by far the biggest one!! Stay off Fansided pal. We don’t want your opinions. I do agree that the Bills and the Jets are hard division games regardless of their records. But Miami will beat them both and make the playoffs. Fins up!!!

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