The NFL Week 10 schedule includes one more game, but it features two NFC teams, meaning the impacts for Week 10 to the AFC side of the playoff picture is complete. The Miami Dolphins have thrust themselves back into the discussion. Can they claw their way back into the actual playoff picture?
The AFC South leading Tennessee Titans are currently in the top spot in the conference with an 8-2 record. That puts them a game-and-a-half ahead of the AFC East leading Buffalo Bills and AFC North leader Baltimore Ravens, both of whom are 6-3 and hold the second and third spots, respectively. The Bills hold the tie break over the Ravens right now due to conference win percentage. The Kansas City Chiefs are leading the AFC West with a 6-4 record, two games behind the Titans.
The three Wildcard teams after Week 10 are the Pittsburgh Steelers at 5-3-1, coming off their 16-16 tie with the Detroit Lions on Sunday. The New England Patriots are 6-4 and holding on to the sixth position, while the Los Angeles Chargers are 5-4 in the seventh spot. They are in the final Wildcard spot due to having the head-to-head tiebreak over the Las Vegas Raiders and a strength of victory tiebreak over the Cincinnati Bengals.
On the outside looking in right now are the 5-4 Raiders in the eighth seed, ahead of the ninth-seeded 5-4 Bengals based on conference win percentage. The 10th through 12th teams are all 5-5, with the Indianapolis Colts leading the group due to conference win percentage, then the Cleveland Browns in 11th based on head-to-head results over the 12th placed Denver Broncos.
The Miami Dolphins hold on to the slimmest of hopes in the 13th position, sitting on a 3-7 record. After a seven-game losing streak from Weeks 2 through 8, winning two games in a row has given Miami a heartbeat. They have two games against the New York Jets (2-7), a game against the New York Giants (3-6), and a game against the Carolina Panthers (5-5) over the next five weeks, with the bye week included. Not to say the Dolphins will win all those games, but they could come out of this stretch with a much better looking record than their current .300 record.
Behind Miami are the Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars, who are 14th and 15th in the standings, both with 2-7 records. New York gets the nod over the Jaguars based on performance against common opponents. The 16th team in the conference are the Houston Texans with a 1-8 record.
AFC Playoff Standings (through Week 10)
1 - Tennessee Titans (8-2, AFC South leader)
2 - Buffalo Bills (6-3, AFC East leader)
3 - Baltimore Ravens (6-3, AFC South leader)
4 - Kansas City Chiefs (6-4, AFC West)
5 - Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3-1, Wildcard 1)
6 - New England Patriots (6-4, Wildcard 2)
7 - Los Angeles Chargers (5-4, Wildcard 3)
Las Vegas Raiders (5-4)
Cincinnati Bengals (5-4)
Indianapolis Colts (5-5)
Cleveland Browns (5-5)
Denver Broncos (5-5)
Miami Dolphins (3-7)
New York Jets (2-7)
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-7)
Houston Texans (1-8)