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NFL Playoff Picture: AFC starting to find separation

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A look at the AFC playoff picture following Week 14.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

A week after everything seemed to go right for the Miami Dolphins, Week 14 was just cruel to the South Florida franchise. Losing to Baltimore seriously damaged the Dolphins' chances for the playoffs, and the rest of the results from around the AFC did not exactly help make the day any better.

While the NFL Week 14 schedule is not yet complete, the AFC side is done as tonight's Monday Night Football contest is an all NFC meeting between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Pacers. With all of the the games that impact the AFC complete, we update the playoff picture this morning.

AFC Playoff Picture (through Week 14):

1. New England Patriots (10-3) - AFC East division leader

2. Denver Broncos (10-3) - AFC West division leader

3. Indianapolis Colts (9-4) - AFC South division leader

4. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1) - AFC North division leader

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) - AFC North #2

6. San Diego Chargers (8-5) - AFC West #2

AFC Playoff Contenders (through Week 13):

Baltimore Ravens (8-5)

Houston Texans (7-6)

Miami Dolphins (7-6)

Kansas City Chiefs (7-6)

Buffalo Bills (7-6)

Cleveland Browns (7-6)

Tiebreaker Explanations:

Click here for an explanation of all the playoff tie break procedures.

10-3 record teams:

The Patriots win the tie break over the Broncos based on head-to-head record.

8-5 record teams:

A three way tie for the final two playoff spots, with Pittsburgh, San Diego, and Baltimore all 8-5. The first step in multi-team ties is to eliminate teams from the same division, with the Steelers and Ravens meeting that criteria. Pittsburgh gets the nod based on division record (3-2 to 2-3), leaving Pittsburgh and San Diego in contention for the fifth spot. Pittsburgh wins that tie break based on conference record (7-3 to 6-4). The Ravens come back into contention for the sixth position, but lose to the Chargers on the head-to-head tie break. Baltimore then settles into the seventh position, one spot out of the playoffs.

7-6 record teams:

The 7-6 group includes one pair of teams from the same division, with Miami eliminating the Bills (based on division record 3-1 to 3-2) in all rounds of the tie break scenario. Houston moves into the eighth position based on conference record (6-3) ahead of Miami (6-4), Kansas City (5-4), and Cleveland (4-6). Miami then takes the ninth spot, again based on conference record. With the Dolphins now slotted, the Bills move back into the tie break, leaving Kansas City, Buffalo, and Cleveland to decide the final three slots among the 7-6 clubs. The Chiefs take take the 10th position based on conference record (Buffalo 4-6). The Bills then take the 11th position based on head-to-head record over Cleveland, who slides into the 12th spot.

Eliminated teams:

New York Jets (2-11)

Tennessee Titans (2-11)

Oakland Raiders (2-11)

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11)

The 2-11 tie break among the bottom four teams features two AFC South teams in the four way tie, with Tennessee eliminating Jacksonville based on head-to-head record. The Jets and Titans have identical 2-7 conference records, while the Raiders are 1-8, eliminating them for the 13th and 14th positions. The Jets top the Titans based on strength of victory. The Raiders take the 15th position over Jacksonville based on strength of schedule.

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We will take our customary look at the upcoming NFL schedule, and how it impacts the Dolphins, later this week.