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2020 NFL Playoff scenarios Week 17: Dolphins win and in

Miami Dolphins v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins are on the cusp of a return to the postseason for the first time since 2016 and only the third time in the last 20 seasons. A win over their AFC East division rivals, the Buffalo Bills who have clinched the AFC East championship for this season, would see Miami lock themselves into the playoffs. It is the most simple path to the postseason for Miami, but it is not the only way.

The Dolphins can also get in with losses from the other Wildcard contenders, the Baltimore Ravens, the Cleveland Browns, the Tennessee Titans, or the Indianapolis Colts, this weekend. The exact chart of what happens, how it impacts seed, and which teams find themselves outside the playoffs is...well...complex:

To try to simplify everything, Miami’s in the playoffs if:

Dolphins playoff clinching scenarios

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (1pm ET)

  • Miami wins OR
  • Baltimore loses OR
  • Cleveland loses OR
  • Indianapolis loses OR
  • Miami ties and Baltimore ties OR
  • Miami ties and Cleveland ties OR
  • Miami ties and Indianapolis ties OR
  • Miami ties and Tennessee ties

Going through the rest of the AFC:

AFC Standings

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (14-1) - Clinched AFC West and first-round bye/homefield advantage
  2. Buffalo Bills (12-3) - Clinched AFC East
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3) - Clinched AFC North
  4. Tennessee Titans (10-5) - Lead AFC South
  5. Miami Dolphins (10-5)
  6. Baltimore Ravens (10-5)
  7. Cleveland Browns (10-5)
  8. Indianapolis Colts (10-5)

AFC Clinching Scenarios:

Tennessee
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (4:25pm ET)

Clinches AFC South if:

  • Tennessee wins OR
  • Indianapolis loses OR
  • Tennessee ties and Indianapolis ties

Clinches playoff berth if:

  • Baltimore loses OR
  • Miami loses OR
  • Tennessee ties and Cleveland loses OR
  • Tennessee ties and Miami ties OR
  • Tennessee ties and Baltimore ties

Baltimore
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (1pm ET)

  • Baltimore wins OR
  • Cleveland loses OR
  • Indianapolis loses OR
  • Baltimore ties and Miami loses OR
  • Baltimore ties and Tennessee loses OR
  • Baltimore ties and Cleveland tie OR
  • Baltimore ties and Indianapolis tie

Cleveland
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (1pm ET)

  • Cleveland wins OR
  • Indianapolis loses OR
  • Tennessee loses and Miami wins or ties and Baltimore wins or ties OR
  • Cleveland ties and Baltimore loses OR
  • Cleveland ties and Miami loses OR
  • Cleveland ties and Tennessee loses OR
  • Cleveland ties and Indianapolis ties OR
  • Cleveland ties and Tennessee ties and Baltimore wins and Miami wins

Indianapolis
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (4:25pm ET)

Clinches AFC South if:

  • Indianapolis wins and Tennessee loses or ties OR
  • Indianapolis ties and Tennessee loses

Clinches playoff berth if:

  • Indianapolis wins and Baltimore loses or ties OR
  • Indianapolis wins and Cleveland loses or ties OR
  • Indianapolis wins and Miami loses or ties OR
  • Indianapolis ties and Baltimore loses OR
  • Indianapolis ties and Cleveland loses OR
  • Indianapolis ties and Miami loses

On the NFC side of the bracket:

NFC Standings

  1. Green Bay Packers (12-3) - Clinched NFC North
  2. New Orleans Saints (11-4) - Clinched NFC South
  3. Seattle Seahawks (11-4) - Clinched NFC West
  4. Washington Football Team (6-9) - Leads NFC East
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-5) - Clinched playoff berth
  6. Los Angeles Rams (9-6)
  7. Chicago Bears (8-7)
  8. Arizona Cardinals (8-7)
  9. Dallas Cowboys (6-9)

NFC Clinching Scenarios

Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (4:25pm ET)

Clinches first-round bye/homefield advantage if:

  • Green Bay wins or ties OR
  • Seattle loses or ties

New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers (4:25pm ET)

Clinches first-round bye/homefield advantage if:

  • New Orleans wins and Green Bay loses and Seattle wins

Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (in Arizona) (4:25pm ET)

Clinches first-round bye/homefield advantage if:

  • Seattle wins and Green Bay loses and New Orleans loses or ties

Washington Football Team
Washington Football Team at Philadelphia Eagles (8:20pm ET)

Clinches NFC East if:

  • Washington wins OR
  • Washington ties and Dallas loses or ties

Los Angeles Rams
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (4:25pm ET)

  • Los Angeles wins or ties OR
  • Chicago loses or ties

Chicago Bears
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (4:25pm ET)

  • Chicago wins OR
  • Arizona loses OR
  • Chicago ties and Arizona ties

Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (4:25pm ET)

  • Arizona wins OR
  • Arizona ties and Chicago loses

Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (1pm ET)

Clinches NFC East if:

  • Dallas wins and Washington loses or ties OR
  • Dallas ties and Washington loses