Week 11 of the NFL season is here, which means the Miami Dolphins are off this week, enjoying their bye week. There are 14 games on the slate this week, which means there is plenty of football for Dolphins fans to watch, and many of those games will directly impact the Dolphins as they look toward the playoffs this year. Miami enters the week in the top spot in the AFC East and second in the AFC playoff picture. Where will they be at the end of the week?
This afternoon, we break down all the games on the schedule for Week 11, finding the result that best assists the Dolphins in the playoff picture. The AFC playoff schedule heading into the week is:
AFC Playoff Picture (Week 11 - including Thursday Night Football results)
1 - Kansas City Chiefs (7-2, AFC West leader)
2 - Miami Dolphins (7-3, AFC East leader)
3 - Tennessee Titans (7-3, AFC South leader)
4 - Baltimore Ravens (6-3, AFC North leader)
5 - New York Jets (6-3, Wild Card 1)
6 - Buffalo Bills (6-3, Wild Card 2)
7 - New England Patriots (5-4, Wild Card 3)
In the hunt
Los Angeles Chargers (5-4)
Cincinnati Bengals (5-4)
Indianapolis Colts (4-5-1)
Cleveland Browns (3-6)
Denver Broncos (3-6)
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6)
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7)
Las Vegas Raiders (2-7)
Houston Texans (1-7-1)
Time to take a look at the Week 11 schedule:
Thursday, Nov. 17
Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers
Result: 27-17 Tennessee
This game would have been better for the Dolphins if the Packers had won, but the result did not change anything in the overall seeding as of now. The Titans improved to 7-3 on the year, but they are still behind Miami based on strength of schedule.
Sunday, Nov. 19
This game only has impact on the Dolphins from the strength of schedule/strength of victory tiebreaks. For that reason, Chicago, who Miami beat in Week 9, coming out of the week with the win helps the Dolphins the most. Root for: Bears.
Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m. ET
An NFC team versus an AFC team is typically an easy choice in the rooting guide. Miami has the head-to-head tiebreak with the Ravens having beaten them in Week 3, but keeping the seeding from coming down to the tiebreak is a better option. Root for: Panthers.
Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. ET
The Browns are 3-6 and struggling to stay in the AFC playoff picture while the Bills are 6-3, in the sixth-seed position in the playoffs and a half-game behind the Dolphins in the AFC East. This game, with a Bills loss, could be one of the biggest results for the Dolphins. A Bills win does not lose Miami the lead in the division, but the Bills will not go away easily, so rooting for a loss here (and probably in the rest of their games this season), is the obvious answer. Root for: Browns.
Washington Commanders at Houston Texans, 1 p.m. ET
Really, this game has little impact on the Dolphins, despite it being an NFC team versus an AFC team. Miami does face Houston in Week 12, so there is a little consideration for the strength of schedule tiebreaks, though at 1-7-1 on the season so far, the Texans are not exactly going to add a lot to the strength rating for Miami. This game is basically a toss-up, but we will give a slight nod to the Texans - breaking the general NFC over AFC rule - because they are not a playoff contender with the possibility of adding a little to the strength of schedule. Root for: Texans.
Philadelphia Eagles at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. ET
This one does even less for Miami than the Commanders at Texans game above. Miami does not play either of these teams, and the Colts are 4-5-1, just barely hanging on to the bottom of the AFC playoff picture. A loss could knock basically them out of contention, keeping a Wild Card option open for Miami if needed. Root for: Eagles.
New York Jets at New England Patriots, 1 p.m. ET
An AFC East versus AFC East showdown of two teams in playoff contention (all four AFC East teams are currently holding playoff spots) is a tough one to consider. In this case, the Dolphins have already beaten the Patriots, who are 5-4 on the season, while the Jets beat Miami earlier in the year and are 6-3 and in second place in the division this season. Miami still has the second matchup with both teams this year, so the Dolphins can handle whatever result happens here, but giving the Jets another loss, even if it helps the Patriots right now, is the better result. A Jets win would tie them with Miami at 7-3, and the Jets currently have the head-to-head tie break, which would move them into the AFC East lead over Miami. Root for: Patriots.
An all-NFC showdown that does not really impact Miami at all. Root for: Coin toss.
Another all-NFC showdown, but Miami did already beat the Lions, so the strength of schedule/victory comes back into play. Root for: Lions.
Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos, 4:05 p.m. ET
The 2-7 Raiders at the 3-6 Broncos in the AFC West - the division that was supposed to be the dominant one in the league this year. Somehow, this game really does not do much for Miami. Root for: Coin toss.
Another all-NFC matchup on the schedule this week, and another all-NFC matchup in which Miami has one of the teams on their schedule. In Week 6, Miami lost to the Vikings, but they still have a play in the strength of schedule rating for the Dolphins. Root for: Vikings.
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers, 4:25 p.m. ET
This one is actually easier than it seems at first glance. Miami beat the Steelers in Week 7. They lost to the Bengals in Week 4. The Steelers are 3-6 on the season while the Bengals are 5-4. A Steelers win helps the strength of victory. A Bengals loss pushes them further away from the playoff positions. Root for: Steelers.
Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers, 8:20 p.m. ET
This one could be a little tricky. The Chargers are 5-4 and just on the outside of the AFC playoff seeding, meaning a win could make them a factor in the Wild Card spots at the end of the year. However the Chiefs are in the top-seed position and, if Miami is going to move into the AFC lead, they need Kansa City to pick up a loss. The Dolphins have the Chargers on the schedule in Week 14, so Miami can give Los Angeles an additional loss on their own. Root for: Chargers.
Monday, Nov. 21
The 17-game schedule for the NFL added an inter-division matchup each season that previously would not have happened. In 2022, that matchup for the Dolphins is a Week 13 meeting with the 49ers. Arizona really does not impact the Dolphins this season, so there is a strength of schedule option here. Root for: 49ers.
AFC Playoff Picture after Week 11 if all these results hold:
1 - Miami Dolphins (7-3, AFC East leader)
2 - Kansas City Chiefs (7-3, AFC West leader)
3 - Tennessee Titans (7-3, AFC South leader)
4 - Baltimore Ravens (6-4, AFC North leader)
5 - New England Patriots (6-4, Wild Card 1)
6 - Los Angeles Chargers (6-4, Wild Card 2)
7 - New York Jets (6-4, Wild Card 3)