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NFL Playoff Picture after Week 12 results: Dolphins struggling to stay relevant

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Miami Dolphins v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Despite the return of Ryan Tannehill, a two interception performance from Xavien Howard, and the first sack recorded against Andrew Luck in early October, the Miami Dolphins may have seen any realistic chance at the 2018-2019 playoffs end on Sunday with a last-second field goal from the Indianapolis Colts. Miami was already looking at long odds to make the playoffs, despite entering Week 12 in a five-way-tie for the second Wildcard position. Now, their chances are minuscule at best.

After last week’s bye, Miami’s chances at the postseason rose, according to FiveThirtyEight, who saw them go from an 11 percent chance after Week 10 to a 13 percent chance after Week 11. Now, after a 27-24 loss to the Colts, the Dolphins drop to 5-6 on the season and to a 4 percent chance to make the playoffs.

Tonight’s Monday Night Football game between the Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans could change these percentages some, as the Titans are part of that pre-Week 12 tie for the Wildcard. A win would push them to 6-5 and a three-way tie with the Colts and the Baltimore Ravens for that spot. A loss and they would fall to 5-6 with Miami, the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Denver Broncos.

Miami is going to need to win most of, if not all, their remaining games to have a shot at the playoffs this year. They are probably going to need a lot of help as well, as several teams in front of them have conference winning percentage or head-to-head tie break advantages.

AFC Playoff Standings

The Kansas City Chiefs remain the top team in the AFC, while the New England Patriots moved up to the second seed thanks to a win over the New York Jets and a Pittsburgh Steelers loss to the Denver Broncos. The Houston Texans currently hold the third seed, a position they will keep with a win over the Titans tonight, or they will swap with the Steelers in the fourth seed if Houston should lose. The Los Angeles Chargers continue their strangle hold on the first Wildcard position, while the Ravens beat out the Colts for the sixth seed and final Wildcard spot thanks to AFC win percentage.

1 - AFC West leader - Kansas City Chiefs (9-2)
2 - AFC East leader - New England Patriots (8-3)
3 - AFC South leader - Houston Texans (7-3)*
4 - AFC North leader - Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3-1)
5 - Wildcard - Los Angeles Chargers (8-3)
6 - Wildcard - Baltimore Ravens (6-5)

7 - Indianapolis Colts (6-5)
8 - Tennessee Titans (5-5)*
9 - Miami Dolphins (5-6)
10 - Cincinnati Bengals (5-6)
11 - Denver Broncos (5-6)
12 - Cleveland Browns (4-6-1)
13 - Buffalo Bills (4-7)
14 - Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8)
15 - New York Jets (3-8)
16 - Oakland Raiders (2-9)

Tie breaks:

  • Ravens over Colts based on AFC win percentage
  • Dolphins over Bengals and Broncos on AFC win percentage
  • Bengals over Broncos based on AFC win percentage
  • Jaguars over Jets based on head-to-head results

*Titans at Texans on Monday Night Football to close Week 12. Titans win keeps them in the eighth seed when division tie break is first used to break the three-way tie with the Ravens and Colts, with the Colts owning the head-to-head advantage; the Texans would drop to the fourth seed with a loss. A Texans win keeps them in the third seed; Titans would drop to 11th seed based on AFC win percentage loss to the Dolphins, the Bengals, and the Broncos.

NFC Playoff Standings

The New Orleans Saints hold on to the top spot, followed by the Los Angeles Rams. The Chicago Bears are the third seed, then the Dallas Cowboys hold on the fourth seed. The two Wildcards are the Minnesota Vikings and the Washington Redskins, who beat out the Seattle Seahawks based on NFC win percentage and the Carolina Panthers on head-to-head results.

1 - NFC South leader - New Orleans Saints (10-1)
2 - NFC West leader - Los Angeles Rams (10-1)
3 - NFC North leader - Chicago Bears (8-3)
4 - NFC East leader - Dallas Cowboys (6-5)
5 - Wildcard - Minnesota Vikings (6-4-1)
6 - Wildcard - Washington Redskins (6-5)

7 - Seattle Seahawks (6-5)
8 - Carolina Panthers (6-5)
9 - Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
10 - Green Bay Packers (4-6-1)
11 - Atlanta Falcons (4-7)
12 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7)
13 - Detroit Lions (4-7)
14 - New York Giants (3-8)
15 - Arizona Cardinals (2-9)
16 - San Francisco 49ers (2-9)

Tie breaks:

  • Saints over Rams based on head-to-head results
  • Cowboys over Redskins based on division win percentage
  • Redskins over Seahawks based on NFC win percentage; over Panthers based on head-to-head results
  • Seahawks over Panthers based on head-to-head results
  • Division tie break: Falcons over Buccaneers based on head-to-head results; then Falcons over Lions based on NFC win percentage
  • Buccaneers over Lions based on NFC win percentage
  • Cardinals over 49ers based on head-to-head results