The Miami Dolphins (6-3) get back on the field in Week 11 after having their bye week last weekend. They host the Las Vegas Raiders (5-5), a team who, despite a slow start to the year and an in-season coaching change, have climbed into the AFC playoff picture, sitting just outside the top seven positions that will make it into the postseason tournament. How can Week 11 assist Miami’s goal of making it to the playoff this year?
The Kansas City Chiefs (7-2) continue to hold the top spot in the AFC as they come off their bye week. Just behind them are the Baltimore Ravens (8-3), who already won this week, beating the Cincinnati Bengals (5-5) on Thursday Night Football. Kansas City faces the Philadelphia Eagles in a Super Bowl rematch on Monday Night Football to close out Week 11. A loss by the Chiefs would vault the Ravens into the top seed position.
The Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3) edge ahead of the Dolphins for the third seed based on the strength of victory tiebreak. Miami holds the fourth-seed spot heading into the weekend.
The three wild card positions are held by the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3), Cleveland Browns (6-3), and Houston Texans (5-4). The Indianapolis Colts (5-5), Raiders (5-5), Bengals (5-5), and Buffalo Bills (5-5) are all tied at a half-game out of a playoff position.
In the NFC, the Eagles (8-1) continue to pace the field with the league’s best record. The Detroit Lions (7-2) are not making it a runaway, however, sitting in the second seed spot just a game back. The San Francisco 49ers (6-3) and the New Orleans Saints (5-5) round out the four division leaders.
The NFC wild card positions are held by the Seattle Seahawks (6-3), Dallas Cowboys (6-3), and Minnesota Vikings (6-4). The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5), Washington Commanders (4-6), and Atlanta Falcons (4-6) are on the wrong side of the playoff bubble entering Week 11.
As we prepare for the Sunday slate of games in Week 11, here is the Dolphins fan rooting guide for the weekend. Nearly half of the remaining games for this weekend feature two NFC teams facing off, with little to no real impact on the Dolphins’ playoff chances.
Note: A couple of the games (Cowboys at Panthers, Giants at Commanders) have some tiebreak implications, but because Miami plays/played all four of those teams this year, it essentially all evens out, so those games were included in the section of games that do not impact Miami.
AFC playoff picture (through Week 11 Thursday Night Football):
Indianapolis Colts (5-5)
Las Vegas Raiders (5-5)
Cincinnati Bengals (5-5)*
Buffalo Bills (5-5)
Los Angeles Chargers (4-5)
New York Jets (4-5)
Denver Broncos (4-5)
Tennessee Titans (3-6)
New England Patriots (2-8)
*The Ravens beat the Bengals 34-20 on Thursday Night Football.
NFC playoff picture (through Week 10):
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5)
Washington Commanders (4-6)
Atlanta Falcons (4-6)
Green Bay Packers (3-6)
Los Angeles Rams (3-6)
Chicago Bears (3-7)
New York Giants (2-8)
Arizona Cardinals (2-8)
Carolina Panthers (1-8)
Miami Dolphins Week 11 rooting guide:
Steelers at Browns, 1 p.m. ET
This one is actually tough, given both teams are 6-3 and in a wild card spot right now. This is a coin toss, with Miami not scheduled to face either team in 2023. The results of this game really decide who will be listed as the fifth seed and who will have the sixth seed spot after the weekend. The Steelers already beat the Browns once this year and a season-sweep could factor into three-way tie scenarios if Miami were to fall into the wild card positioning. For that reason, we will give a very slight advantage to the Steelers. Root for: Pittsburgh.
Chargers at Packers, 1 p.m. ET
We have a few AFC versus NFC games this weekend, making the choices nearly automatic. Here, the Chargers (4-5) are trying to climb back into the AFC wild card hunt and face an NFC Packers team. Root for: Green Bay.
Cardinals at Texans, 1 p.m. ET
NFC at AFC. The Texans are in a wild card position and are just a game behind Miami’s record, if the Dolphins were to fall out of the AFC East lead at some point. We will not violate the rule of rooting for losses for AFC teams when facing NFC opponents. Root for: Arizona.
Titans at Jaguars, 1 p.m. ET
Despite this game featuring two AFC teams, this is an easy selection. The Titans are 3-6, holding the second-worst record in the conference. The Jaguars are 6-3 and in the third-seed position, ahead of the Dolphins, in the playoff picture. An upset win by the Titans helps Miami. Root for: Tennessee.
Jets at Bills, 4:25 p.m. ET
Two AFC East teams facing off. The Bills are the bigger threat to Miami right now, just 1.5 games back in the division standings, but the Jets are just another half-game behind them. Wins by the Jets keep them in contention and make it possible - though it still feels unlikely - that Aaron Rodgers tries to make a return this season. Would Rodgers spark the Jets offense and create issues for the Dolphins down the stretch? Miami still has to play New York twice this season, but they already lost once to the Bills. You know I cannot bring myself to say who to root for in this game, so instead... Root for: A Buffalo loss.
Vikings at Broncos, 8:20 p.m. ET
Remember when the Dolphins beat the Broncos 70-20 and Denver looked like a complete disaster? They are still just 14th in the league out of the 16 teams in the standings, but they are 4-5 and somehow on the edge of the playoff picture. They are playing much better football and have pulled off wins over the Chiefs and the Bills in their last two games. Could they become a threat in the AFC late this season? This is an NFC at AFC game, making this choice pretty simple. Root for: Minnesota.
Eagles at Chiefs, 8:15 p.m. ET Monday
If the Dolphins want to claim homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, they will need the Chiefs to pick up a couple of losses, given Kansas City holds the head-to-head advantage over Miami. An NFC at AFC matchup with the Dolphins really needing to see losses from the top-seed in the AFC playoffs. Straight forward rooting guide here. Root for: Philadelphia.
Games with no impact on Dolphins:
Cowboys at Panthers, 1 p.m. ET
Bears at Lions, 1 p.m. ET
Giants at Commanders, 1 p.m. ET
Buccaneers at 49ers, 4:05 p.m. ET
Seahawks vs. Rams, 4:25 p.m. ET