Root for Patriots? Miami Dolphins would do anything for playoffs (but they can’t do that!)

Rookie quarterback Jared Goff of the Rams scrambles from Andre Branch of the Dolphins. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Rookie quarterback Jared Goff of the Rams scrambles from Andre Branch of the Dolphins. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The Broncos and the Patriots are playing in a late afternoon game Sunday.

A New England victory would assure that the Dolphins end the weekend in playoff position, because at 9-5, Miami held a half-game edge over the host Broncos (8-5). But if Denver beats New England, they would leapfrog the Dolphins into the final playoff position with only two weeks to go because of a tiebreaker edge.

So Dolphins players were going to take advantage of a rare Sunday afternoon off and … what? Actually root for New England?

“What’d they say?” cornerback Byron Maxwell said. “We need Denver to lose or something like that?”

Yes, Maxwell was told.

“I’m not a New England fan,” he said.

Could he be one for three hours?

“I don’t know,” he said, unable to swallow that pill. “Could a tie help?”

Maxwell wasn’t alone. If the Broncos lost, the Dolphins would accept the assist, but they couldn’t hold their noses and root for such a thing.

“I play for the Miami Dolphins, man,” defensive end Andre Branch said. “Whatever happens, we just control what we do.”

Right tackle Ja’Wuan James agreed.

“Nah,” he said of pulling for a division rival. “I’m not even into that. What’ll help us is winning one game at a time.”

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