Believe it: The Miami Dolphins are going to the playoffs.
Once 1-4, the Dolphins will enter the New Year as one of six AFC teams with a shot at the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs handed all of South Florida a great big Christmas gift by beating the Broncos 33-10 Sunday night.
In doing so, Kansas City (11-4) simultaneously put the Dolphins in the postseason and eliminated Denver, the defending Super Bowl champions.
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The Dolphins (10-5), winners of nine of their last 10, will return to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. They go as a Wild Card team. The only question remains: Will they be the No. 5 or 6 seed?
The difference could be huge.
If the Dolphins end up as the sixth seed, they’ll play in Pittsburgh against a Ben Roethlisberger-led Steelers team that clinched the AFC North by beating the Ravens Saturday.
But if somehow they get the fifth seed, the Dolphins will open the postseason in Houston against a Texans team who will likely start Tom Savage at quarterback.
The Steelers (10-5) own the tiebreaker over the Texans (9-6), so they are locked into the third seed.
The Dolphins beat the Steelers 30-15 on Oct. 16. Miami has not faced Houston this season.
The odds are long that the Dolphins can leapfrog the Chiefs, who are currently the fifth seed. To do so, they’d need to not only beat the Patriots Sunday in a game with huge meaning for New England, but also have the Chiefs lose to the Chargers, who are playing out the string.
Neither outcome is likely. Having both outcomes occur on the same day? Nine and a half percent, according to fivethirtyeight.com.
Sure, the reward is huge. But so is the risk of losing yet another key player due to injury.
But the fact that first-year coach Adam Gase even has to think about that scenario is a testament to the job he’s done in Miami. Gase will meet with reporters Monday for the first time as coach of a playoff team.