The Miami Dolphins will face the New York Giants tonight in the final game of the NFL's Week 14 schedule. With the week nearly complete, we can take a look at the current AFC Playoff standings, pending Miami's contest tonight. The playoff picture in the AFC standings are starting to clear up, with the Wildcard teams adding some distance between themselves and the rest of the conference.
The New England Patriots, who moved back into the top seed position, became the first team to clinch a playoff berth this year, and could clinch the AFC East if the Dolphins lose to the Giants tonight. The Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos, both of whom lost on Sunday, fell back to the second and third positions, respectively, while the Indianapolis Colts still hold the fourth spot based on a tie break scenario with the Houston Texans.
The Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets are in the two Wildcard positions, with the Pittsburgh Steelers on the wrong end of the three way tie for those two spots.
After Pittsburgh, the Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills, and Houston Texans all sit in a group of teams two games out of the Wildcard with three weeks to play. That is the group the Dolphins, with a win tonight, can join. After Miami, the Jacksonville Jaguars are in the 12th position, followed by the Baltimore Ravens. Three teams make up a group of franchises with three wins, rounding out the conference with the San Diego Chargers, Cleveland Browns, and Tennessee Titans.
AFC Playoff Standings:
1 - New England Patriots (11-2, AFC East leaders)
2 - Cincinnati Bengals (10-3, AFC North leaders)
3 - Denver Broncos (10-3, AFC West leaders)
Tie breaks: Cincinnati (8-2) beat Denver (6-3) based on conference record.
4 - Indianapolis Colts (6-7, AFC South leaders)
Tie breaks: Indianapolis beat Houston based on head-to-head record. Will play each other for second time in Week 15.
5 - Kansas City Chiefs (8-5)
6 - New York Jets (8-5)
Tie breaks: Kansas City (7-2) beats New York (6-4) and Pittsburgh (5-4) based on conference records. New York beats Pittsburgh based on conference records.
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)
Oakland Raiders (6-7)
Buffalo Bills (6-7)
Houston Texans (6-7)
Tie breaks: Oakland (6-4) beats Buffalo (6-5) and Houston (4-5) based on conference record. Buffalo beats Houston based on head-to-head record.
Miami Dolphins (5-7)*
* Pending Monday Night Football results
Jacksonville Jaguars (5-8)
Baltimore Ravens (4-9)
San Diego Chargers (3-10)
Cleveland Browns (3-10)
Tennessee Titans (3-10)
Tie breaks: San Diego (2-7) beats Cleveland (2-8) and Tennessee (1-8) based on conference record. Cleveland beats Tennessee based on head-to-head results.
Monday Night Football impacts
With a win, the Dolphins will improve to 6-7 on the year, moving them into a tie with the Raiders, Bills, and Texans. Under NFL tie break rules, the first step is to eliminate teams from the same division when three-or-more teams are in a tie. As such, the Dolphins will fall out of the tie break in the first round, being eliminated by the Bills (head-to-head results). That leaves the Raiders in the eight position. The second round of the tie break will again have the Bills eliminate the Dolphins, then the Bills will beat the Texans based on head-to-head results, making Buffalo the ninth team in the conference. The Dolphins will then beat the Texans based on head-to-head results.
With Miami win:
8 - Raiders
9 - Bills
10 - Dolphins
11 - Texas
With a loss, the Dolphins will fall to 5-8, moving them into a tie with the Jaguars. Jacksonville will win that tie break due to head-to-head results this season.
With Miami loss:
11 - Jaguars
12 - Dolphins