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Miami Dolphins fan rooting guide Week 12 2023

The Miami Dolphins beat the New York Jets on Black Friday during the early games in Week 12. With the Sunday schedule now upon us, it is time to sit back and root for the results that best help the Dolphins in the playoff picture.

Miami Dolphins v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins (8-3) beat the New York Jets (4-7) on Black Friday, ending the holiday portion of the NFL’s Week 12 schedule. With the Thanksgiving triple-header and the Dolphins’ Black Friday game, 12 games remain on the schedule for Sunday and Monday. Which results best assist the Dolphins in the AFC playoff picture?

Miami, with their win, has moved into the top spot in the playoff standings, but they can fall back out of it depending on how the Sunday games fare. The Baltimore Ravens (8-3) entered Week 12 in the top spot, only to have Miami move ahead of them based on the AFC winning percentage tiebreak. A win by the Ravens would move them back ahead of Miami.

The rest of the AFC standings include the Kansas City Chiefs (7-3) and Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3) in the third- and fourth-seeded positions. They were both tied with the Dolphins prior to the Black Friday game and, based on tiebreaks, they could move back ahead of Miami with wins on Sunday.

The AFC wild card positions are held by the Cleveland Browns (7-3), Houston Texans (6-4), and Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4). The Buffalo Bills (6-5) are the first team on the outside of the playoff picture, with the Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos, and Cincinnati Bengals all tied at 5-5 on the year and a half-game behind Buffalo.

The NFC side of the playoff picture is led by the Philadelphia Eagles (9-1), followed by the San Francisco 49ers (8-3), Detroit Lions (8-3), and New Orleans Saints (5-5). The wild card positions are held by the Dallas Cowboys (8-3), Minnesota Vikings (6-5), and Seattle Seahawks (6-5).

The Green Bay Packers (5-6) are on the wrong side of the playoff bubble, with the Los Angeles Rams (4-6), Atlanta Falcons (4-6), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6) a half-game behind them. The Lions, Packers, Cowboys, Washington Commanders, 49ers, and Seahawks all played on Thanksgiving.

After Monday’s game, just six weeks remain in the 2023 NFL regular season. The playoff positioning is becoming more and more critical with each game played. We break down the rest of the Week 12 matchups, providing the best outcome for the Dolphins this weekend.

AFC East standings (through Week 12 Black Friday game):

1 - Miami Dolphins (8-3)*
2 - Buffalo Bills (6-5) - 2 GB
3 - New York Jets (4-7)* - 4 GB
4 - New England Patriots (2-8) - 5.5 GB

*Played on Black Friday

AFC Playoff Picture (through Week 12 Black Friday game):

1 - Miami Dolphins (8-3, AFC East leader)*
2- Baltimore Ravens (8-3, AFC North leader)
3 - Kansas City Chiefs (7-3, AFC West leader)
4 - Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3, AFC South leader)

5 - Cleveland Browns (7-3, Wild Card 1 position)
6 - Houston Texans (6-4, Wild Card 2 position)
7 - Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4, Wild Card 3 position)

Buffalo Bills (6-5)
Indianapolis Colts (5-5)
Denver Broncos (5-5)
Cincinnati Bengals (5-5)
Las Vegas Raiders (5-6)
Los Angeles Chargers (4-6)
New York Jets (4-7)*
Tennessee Titans (3-7)
New England Patriots (2-8)

*Played on Black Friday


  • Dolphins over Ravens based on AFC win percentage
  • Chiefs over Jaguars based on head-to-head results
  • Texas over Steelers based on head-to-head result
  • Colts over Bengals and Broncos based on AFC win percentage
  • Broncos over Bengals based on AFC win percentage

NFC playoff picture (through Week 11):

1 - Philadelphia Eagles (9-1, NFC East leader)
2 - San Francisco 49ers (8-3, NFC West leader)**
3 - Detroit Lions (8-3, NFC North leader)**
4 - New Orleans Saints (5-5, NFC South leader)

5 - Dallas Cowboys (8-3, Wild Card 1 position)**
6 - Minnesota Vikings (6-5, Wild Card 2 position)
7 - Seattle Seahawks (6-5, Wild Card 3 position)**

Green Bay Packers (5-6)**
Los Angeles Rams (4-6)
Atlanta Falcons (4-6)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6)
Washington Commanders (4-8)**
New York Giants (3-8)
Chicago Bears (3-8)
Arizona Cardinals (2-9)
Carolina Panthers (1-9)

**Played on Thanksgiving


  • 49ers over Lions based on NFC win percentage
  • Vikings over Seahawks based on NFC win percentage
  • Rams over Falcons based on strength of victory (Note: Falcons over Buccaneers tiebreak conducted first to eliminate division rivals in three-way tie)
  • Falcons over Buccaneers based on head-to-head results
  • Giants over Bears based on NFC win percentage

Miami Dolphins Week 12 rooting guide:

Steelers at Bengals, 1 p.m. ET

The Steelers are 6-4 and in a wild card position while the Bengals are 5-5 and 11th in the AFC standings. A win by Cincinnati could push them back into a wild card position, creating more of a mess if the Dolphins were to fall out of the AFC East lead down the road. Adding another loss to the wild card spots is not a bad thing, however, and could clear the way for Miami to clinch a playoff berth early. Root for: Cincinnati.

Jaguars at Texans, 1 p.m. ET

The winner of this game takes the top spot in the AFC South, currently held by the Jaguars. If Miami is to hold on the top position in the AFC seeding, they need the Jaguars to lose to keep the tiebreaks from coming back into play. Root for: Houston.

Buccaneers at Colts, 1 p.m. ET

This is an NFC versus AFC matchup and features an AFC team trying to climb back into the wild card picture. Keeping the Colts out of that spot makes the most sense. Root for: Tampa Bay.

Patriots at Giants, 1 p.m. ET

This game really does not have any bearing on Miami’s playoff chances, outside of a slight strength of schedule/victory advantage the Dolphins would get with a Patriots’ win since Miami beat New England twice this season compared to just one win over the Giants. If you want to make that argument, you can, but I will stick with the AFC versus NFC rule and make sure I do not have to root for the Patriots unless it is an absolute necessity. Root for: New York.

Panthers at Titans, 1 p.m. ET

Another game that, based on Tennessee’s 3-7 record. has little direct impact on the Dolphins. We will break the NFC versus AFC rule on this game, however, as the Dolphins still have the Titans on the schedule and the strength of schedule/victory tiebreak could be helpful. Root for: Tennessee.

Browns at Broncos, 4:05 p.m. ET

This one is a little concerning. Miami already beat the Broncos, who are just outside the wild card window. The Browns are in the wild card picture, holding the fifth seed. That would seem to make this fairly straightforward but wins by either team start making changes to the playoff seeding. The Broncos could jump into the wild card picture with a win and some other help. Eliminating teams from real contention for the playoffs with mounting losses is usually a goal, so getting the Broncos additional losses would seem to be the best move. However, a Browns win could actually leap them from the fifth seed into the AFC’s top seed if they can get some help. They would hold a strength of victory tiebreak over the Dolphins. With all of the tiebreaks that still come into play between division rivals, the AFC North will be fascinating down the stretch, but for this week, it makes more sense for Miami if the Broncos become a true wild card contender if only to keep the Browns out of the division leader group. Root for: Denver.

Chiefs at Raiders, 4:25 p.m. ET

The Dolphins entered the week behind the Chiefs in the AFC playoff picture based on tiebreaks. To avoid continuing to lose out to Kansas City based on those tiebreaks, seeing the Chiefs lose and fall out of the tie is best for Miami. Root for: Las Vegas.

Bills at Eagles, 4:25 p.m. ET

This one is pretty obvious. The Bills entered the week 1.5 games behind the Dolphins in the AFC East standings. Adding another loss to that tally, pushing them to 2.5 games back as they head into their bye week, would be huge for Miami. Root for: Philadelphia.

Ravens at Chargers 8:20 p.m. ET

Earlier we had the Browns picking up a loss so they could not leap the Ravens in the AFC North standings - and then leap the Dolphins in the AFC playoff picture. The other half of that is getting the Ravens behind Miami in the standings. Baltimore’s bye week is next week, giving the Dolphins a chance to go from a half-game behind the Ravens entering Week 12 to a game ahead after Week 13. The Chargers are just 4-6 on the season and likely not going to hang around the playoff picture over the next few weeks. Root for: Los Angeles.

Games with no impact on Dolphins:
Saints at Falcons, 1 p.m. ET
Rams at Cardinals, 4:05 p.m. ET
Bears at Vikings, 8:15 p.m. ET Monday

If everything were to play out like this, Miami would be in first place in the AFC after Week 12, with the Ravens in second, the Chiefs third, and the Texans fourth. The Browns, Jaguars, and Broncos would be in the three wild card positions.

In the AFC East, Miami would be 2.5 games clear of the Bills, four games up on the Jets, and six games ahead of the Patriots.