The Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints close out the 2021 NFL Week 16 schedule with an important matchup on “Monday Night Football.” The game will have a significant impact on playoff scenarios with the winner greatly improving its chances of reaching the postseason.

Miami is the AFC’s No. 11 seed and New Orleans is the NFC’s No. 8 seed entering the contest, meaning both teams are out of the latest playoff picture. The betting odds suggest that won’t be the case for Week 17.

Most sportsbooks list the Dolphins as three-point favorites in New Orleans. If Miami wins, they will take hold of the No. 7 seed and move into the updated playoff bracket.

If the Saints win, they will remain the No. 8 seed but move into a virtual three-way tie with the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers for the NFC’s final two wild-card spots. Five of the NFC playoff berths have already been clinched.

The Dolphins started the week as three-point underdogs. The betting line moved in favor of Miami when Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian were added to the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday, forcing the Saints to name rookie Ian Book as their starting quarterback.

A Miami victory would give the Dolphins the same 8-7 record as the No. 7 seed Baltimore Ravens. Miami beat Baltimore 22-10 in Week 10, giving the Dolphins the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders also have an 8-7 record and are the first teams out of the playoff picture.

If the Dolphins beat the Saints, they will be one game behind the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots for first place in the AFC East. Buffalo beat Miami twice and owns the head-to-head tiebreaker for the division.

A loss for the Dolphins would keep them in the No. 11 slot and put them one game behind the Ravens, Chargers and Raiders. Miami has a difficult schedule to end the season. The Dolphins will visit the Tennessee Titans in Week 17 and host the Patriots in the Week 18 finale.

The No. 10 seed Pittsburgh Steelers will enter Week 17 either a half-game behind or a half-game ahead of Miami, depending on Monday’s result.

If the Saints lose, they’ll fall to the No. 10 seed and a full game out of the postseason. New Orleans would move into a three-way tie with the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons.

The Saints host the Carolina Panthers in Week 17 and visit Atlanta in Week 18.

Miami is on a six-game winning streak after starting the season 1-7. New Orleans lost five straight games after quarterback Jameis Winston suffered a season-ending injury, but the Saints have since rebounded and put together a pair of consecutive victories.

Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins throws the ball at the Baptist Health Training Complex on August 25, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Joel Auerbach/Getty Images