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NFL playoff picture 2023 update: Week 12 results give Dolphins firm control of AFC East

With Week 12 of the 2023 season down to just Monday Night Football remaining, we update the NFL playoff picture and find the Miami Dolphins closing in on an AFC East title.

Miami Dolphins v New York Jets Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears visit the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football to close out Week 12 of the 2023 NFL regular season. Throughout the weekend, the NFL playoff picture continued to change based on the latest results to come in. With the AFC complete for the week and the NFC needing just tonight’s result to close out before we reach the three-quarter mark of the year, it is time to update the AFC and NFC playoff pictures.

For the Miami Dolphins, the week was a roller-coaster ride. They came into Thursday’s Thanksgiving triple-header in the fourth-seed in the AFC. After Miami beat the New York Jets in the league’s inaugural Black Friday game, the moved into the top seed in the conference, but as the Sunday games began to reach final scores, Miami slid back down the standings, eventually landing back in the fourth seed.

In the AFC East division, however, Week 12 improved Miami’s position. While the Dolphins entered and ended the week in the top spot for the division, the Buffalo Bills losing to the Philadelphia Eagles improved Miami’s grip on the top spot. The Dolphins, 8-3 on the season, have a 2.5-game lead on the Bills, 6-6, in the AFC East. Buffalo’s bye week is Week 13, leading to Miami, with a win over the Washington Commanders next week, being able to extend their division lead to three games with five contests remaining. If the Dolphins lose to the Commanders, they would still have a two-game lead with five to play.

With just the Monday Night Football game to play in Week 12, here are the update playoff standings:

AFC East standings (through Week 12):

1 - Miami Dolphins (8-3)
2 - Buffalo Bills (6-6) - 2.5 GB
3 - New York Jets (4-7) - 4 GB
4 - New England Patriots (2-9) - 6 GB

AFC Playoff Picture (through Week 12):

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

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

Houston Texans (6-5)
Denver Broncos (6-5)
Buffalo Bills (6-6)
Cincinnati Bengals (5-6)
Las Vegas Raiders (5-7)
Los Angeles Chargers (4-7)
Tennessee Titans (4-7)
New York Jets (4-7)
New England Patriots (2-9)


  • Chiefs over Jaguars and Dolphins based on head-to-head results
  • Jaguars over Dolphins based on strength of victory
  • Steelers based on head-to-head result
  • Colts over Texans in divisional tiebreak based on head-to-head results; Colts over Denver based on AFC win percentage
  • Texans over Broncos based on AFC win percentage
  • Chargers over Titans and Jets based on AFC win percentage
  • Titans over Jets based on AFC win percentage

NFC playoff picture (through Week 12 Sunday Night Football):

1 - Philadelphia Eagles (10-1, NFC East leader)
2 - San Francisco 49ers (8-3, NFC West leader)
3 - Detroit Lions (8-3, NFC North leader)
4 - Atlanta Falcons (5-6, 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 (5-6)
New Orleans Saints (5-6)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7)
New York Giants (4-8)
Washington Commanders (4-8)
Chicago Bears (3-8)*
Arizona Cardinals (2-10)
Carolina Panthers (1-10)

*Playing on Monday night


  • 49ers over Lions based on NFC win percentage
  • Falcons over Saints based on head-to-head results
  • Vikings over Seahawks based on NFC win percentage
  • Packers over Rams and Saints based on head-to-head results
  • Ramves over Saints based on NFC win percentage
  • Giants over Commanders based on head-to-head results