MIAMI GARDENS–The Dolphins‘ hopes of warmer weather and an easier road in the playoffs were squashed by their loss to the Patriots this afternoon.
Miami needed to win and get a Kansas City loss to move up to the fifth seed. Instead it gets the No. 6 spot in the AFC playoff field and will open the postseason at No. 3 Pittsburgh next weekend.
The NFL has yet to determine if Dolphins-Steelers will be Saturday or Sunday. The league is expected to announce dates and times for all playoff games after tonight’s game between the Packers and Lions.
Miami won its last two games against the Steelers, including a 30-15 victory at Hard Rock Stadium in October. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger played hurt that day and has looked much healthier recently.
The all-time series, including playoffs, is 13-13. Miami beat Pittsburgh in the 1972 and ’85 AFC Championship Games, and lost to the Steelers in ’79.
Finishing sixth also locks the Dolphins into a second-round matchup at New England if they advance. The Patriots clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs and get a first-round bye.
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