Every NFL team has officially completed half their schedule, now, and, as the calendar moves to November, the playoffs are starting to loom. We continue our weekly tracking of the playoff standings today, as well as looking at who the Miami Dolphins are facing, and how that game impacts the playoff picture.
AFC Playoff Picture (through Week 8):
1. New England Patriots (7-2) - AFC East division leader
2. Denver Broncos (6-2) - AFC West division leader
3. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2-1) - AFC North division leader
4. Indianapolis Colts (6-3) - AFC South division leader
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) - AFC North #2
6. Kansas City Chiefs (5-3) - AFC West #2
AFC Playoff Contenders (through Week 8):
Cleveland Browns (5-3)
Buffalo Bills (5-3)
Miami Dolphins (5-3)
San Diego Chargers (5-4)
Baltimore Ravens (5-4)
Houston Texans (4-5)
5-3 record teams:
The Dolphins are ruled out of the multi-team tie breaker due to currently holding a losing record in the head-to-head matchup with Buffalo. That then leaves the Bills, the Chiefs, and the Browns, with Kansas City claiming the top spot among those three based on conference record. That gives the Chiefs the final playoff position, while the Browns fall into seventh place, again based on conference record. Buffalo claims the eighth spot and the Dolphins, who were in tenth place last week, move up into the ninth spot.
5-4 record teams:
The Chargers win the tie break over the Ravens based on conference record.
The rest of the conference:
Tennessee Titans (2-6)
New York Jets (1-8)
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8)
Oakland Raiders (0-8)
None of the teams in the conference have been officially ruled out of the playoffs as of yet. The Jets win the tiebreaker with the Jaguars based on conference record.
Dolphins upcoming opponents:
@ Detroit Lions, 6-2, 1st in NFC North
The Dolphins face an NFC team this week, meaning the main playoff implication is simply for Miami to win to get better their record. In terms of tie breakers, strength of victory and, potentially, common games for any teams that also played the Lions this year, could come into play.
Three key AFC Week 9 games:
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (8:25pm ET Thursday) - The AFC North features four teams all above .500. The Bengals are currently in the top spot, with the Browns in third, essentially a half game back. At some point, someone has to distance themselves, and the Dolphins need the losses to start mounting among the rest of the teams to knock them out of the Wildcard hunt.
Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills (1pm ET Sunday) - A tough game as a Dolphins fans, Miami could use losses from either teams. Both clubs are ahead of the Dolphins based on tie breaks, and hold head-to-head advantages on Miami this year. A loss by Kansas City works to the Wildcard picture, while a loss from the Bills works both the Wildcard and the AFC East picture.
Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Jets (1pm ET Sunday) - An upset would have to happen here to really help Miami. The game opened as a 2.5 line favoring the Steelers and is already in the five to six point range for PIttsburgh. It actually would be a good thing for New York to somehow win this game, a sentence I really do not like writing.
As he does every week, Phinsider author KIH004 will bring you a full breakdown of every team to root for during Week 10 later this week.