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‘Sunday Night Football’ picks and open thread: Bills at Dolphins!

Big time playoff implications for the AFC in the final game of the regular season.

SPORTS-FBN-DOLPHINS-BILLS-2-MI Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens look to be leaving the rest of the NFL in the dust this season. Still, other regions of the AFC are shaping up to be much more competitive, like the AFC East for example. Enter Sunday Night Football: the Miami Dolphins are hosting the Buffalo Bills in a clash for the second overall position in the American Football Conference heading into the postseason.

Now, several teams — like the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs — know they have already clinched and what their seeding will be regardless of the Week 18 outcome; this is not true, however, for the Dolphins and Bills, who are playing a game that will determine the outcome not only of the AFC East, but also the dynamic of the entire AFC postseason picture. The winner of this game will enter the playoffs as the second seed in the AFC, and the loser will go up against the Kansas City Chiefs on the road. Buffalo clinched a playoff spot after a loss by the Jacksonville Jaguars. While this doesn’t mean as much as it used to with only one team being awarded a first round bye, it is not insignificant, either.

Regardless of the outcome and its impact on the postseason, I think we can expect at least a little scoring in this one; DraftKings Sportsbook seems to agree, as they have this game listed as having the highest over/under this week at nearly 50 points. If this were happening in the much colder Buffalo weather, I might be inclined to go under. But two division rivals who boast the NFL’s first and sixth best scoring offenses, respectively? In a clash with major playoff implications? Sign me up. The Bills are favored by a field goal in this one after stomping the ‘Phins earlier in the season, but expect a closer matchup this time around, and some payback from Miami...

The pick: Over 49.5 points, Dolphins win and cover the spread.