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NFL playoff standings 2023 Week 14: AFC and NFC picture, scenarios, and Miami Dolphins fan rooting guide

Week 14 begins the final five-week push to the NFL playoffs. What do the AFC and NFC standings look like ahead of Sunday’s games and which results help the Miami Dolphins?

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

The Miami Dolphins do not play until Monday night in Week 14, bringing us a chance to watch what happens around the league and how it impacts the Dolphins’ 2023 NFL playoff chances. Miami is currently the top-seeded team in the AFC playoff picture. Will they finish the week holding the spot?

Based on the teams’ AFC winning percentage, the conference standings have the Dolphins (9-3) ahead of the Baltimore Ravens (9-3). Just behind them, the Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) bump ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4) after Kansas City beat the Jaguars head-to-head in Week 2.

The AFC wild card teams are the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, and Houston Texans, all 7-5 on the season. The Pittsburgh Steelers held the top wild card position prior to the start of the week, but a loss on Thursday Night Football dropped them to their eighth position, one spot out of the playoff picture.

The NFC playoff picture continues to find the Philadelphia Eagles (10-2) pacing the field. After a loss last week, however, the standings have tightened up, both in the NFC overall and in the NFC East. The second- and third-seeded teams, the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions, are both 9-3, just a game behind Philadelphia. The Atlanta Falcons are the fourth seed, leading the AFC South at 6-6.

The wild card positions are led by the Dallas Cowboys, who are challenging the Eagles for the NFC East title, sitting a game back at 9-3, and facing Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football tonight. The Minnesota Eagles and Green Bay Packers hold the other two wild card positions, both with 6-6 records.

Taking a look at the Week 14 schedule, we provide Dolphins fans with the rooting guide for every game that impacts the team’s playoff chances.


Week 14 Clinching Scenarios

Dallas Cowboys clinch playoff berth with:

  • Cowboys win and Vikings loss/tie and Packers loss/tie and Seahawks loss and Buccaneers loss/tie and Lions win/tie and Rams loss/tie (Note: Vikings and Packers cannot both tie) OR
  • Cowboys win and Vikings loss/tie and Packers loss/tie and Seahawks loss and Buccaneers loss/tie and Lions win/tie and Saints loss/tie (Note: Vikings and Packers cannot both tie) OR
  • Cowboys win and Vikings loss/tie and Packers loss/tie and Seahawks loss and Buccaneers tie and Lions win/tie (Note: Vikings and Packers cannot both tie)

Philadelphia Eagles clinch playoff berth with:

  • Eagles win and Seahawks loss/tie OR
  • Eagles win and Rams loss/tie OR
  • Eagles win and Packers loss/tie and Vikings loss/tie OR
  • Eagles in and Packers loss/tie and Lions loss OR
  • Eagles tie and Rams loss and Seahawks loss OR
  • Eagles tie and Rams loss and Vikings loss/tie OR
  • Eagles tie and Rams loss and Packers loss/tie OR
  • Eagles tie and Seahawks loss and Vikings loss/tie OR
  • Eagles tie and Seahawks loss and Packers loss/tie OR
  • Eagles tie and Vikings loss and Packers loss/tie

San Francisco 49ers clinch playoff berth with:

  • 49ers win and Packers loss OR
  • 49ers win and Vikings loss OR
  • 49ers win and Packers tie and Vikings tie

Week 14 Elimination Scenarios

(Scenarios via @NFLScenarios)

Arizona Cardinals eliminated from playoffs with:

  • Packers win and Rams win OR
  • Packers tie and Rams win and Vikings win/tie

New England Patriots eliminated from playoffs with:

  • Patriots loss/tie OR
  • Texans win/tie OR
  • Bengals win/tie OR
  • Raiders win and Bills win/tie OR
  • Raiders tie and Bills win

Tennessee Titans eliminated from playoffs with:

  • Titans loss and Jaguars/Browns tie and Colts win and Steelers win and Texans win/tie

AFC East standings (through Week 14 Thursday Night Football):

1 - Miami Dolphins (9-3)
2 - Buffalo Bills (6-6) - 3 GB
3 - New York Jets (4-8) - 5 GB
4 - New England Patriots (3-10) - Eliminated from division title

Week 14 schedule:
New England Patriots 28 - 18 Pittsburgh Steelers (Thursday Night Football)
Houston Texans at New York Jets, 1 p.m. ET Sunday
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday
Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins, 8:15 p.m. ET Monday


AFC playoff picture (through Week 14 Thursday Night Football):

1 - Miami Dolphins (9-3, AFC East leader)
2 - Baltimore Ravens (9-3, AFC North leader)
3 - Kansas City Chiefs (8-4, AFC West leader)
4 - Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4, AFC South leader)

5 - Cleveland Browns (7-5, Wild Card 1 position)
6 - Indianapolis Colts (7-5, Wild Card 2 position)
7 - Houston Texans (7-5, Wild Card 3 position)

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6)*
Denver Broncos (6-6)
Cincinnati Bengals (6-6)
Buffalo Bills (6-6)
Los Angeles Chargers (5-7)
Las Vegas Raiders (5-7)
New York Jets (4-8)
Tennessee Titans (4-8)
New England Patriots (3-10)*

*The Patriots beat the Steelers on Thursday Night Football to open Week 14, pushing the Steelers from the top wild-card position to the first team on the wrong side of the playoff bubble ahead of Sunday’s games. The Steelers’ loss also moves the Browns from the seventh-seed position over the Colts and into the top wild-card position.
Tiebreaks:

  • Dolphins over Ravens based on AFC win percentage
    Chiefs over Jaguars based on head-to-head results
  • Colts over Texans based on head-to-head results (divisional tiebreak); Browns over Colts based on head-to-head results
  • Colts over Texans based on head-to-head results
  • Broncos over Bengals based on AFC win-percentage; Broncos over Bills based on head-to-head results
  • Bengals over Bills based on head-to-head results
  • Chargers over Raiders based on head-to-head results
  • Jets over Titans based on strength of victory

NFC Playoff Picture (through Week 13)

1 - Philadelphia Eagles (10-2, NFC East leader)
2 - San Francisco 49ers (9-3, NFC West leader)
3 - Detroit Lions (9-3, NFC North leader)
4 - Atlanta Falcons (6-6, NFC South leader)

5 - Dallas Cowboys (9-3, Wild Card 1 position)
6 - Minnesota Vikings (6-6, Wild Card 2 position)
7 - Green Bay Packers (6-6, Wild Card 3 position)

Los Angeles Rams (6-6)
Seattle Seahawks (6-6)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7)
New Orleans Saints (5-7)
New York Giants (4-8)
Chicago Bears (4-8)
Washington Commanders (4-9)
Arizona Cardinals (3-10)

Eliminated:
Carolina Panthers (1-11)

Tiebreaks:

  • 49ers over Lions based on NFC win percentage
  • Vikings over Packers based on head-to-head results (divisional tiebreak); Rams over Seahawks based on head-to-head results (divisional tiebreak); Vikings over Rams based on NFC win percentage
  • Rams over Seahawks based on head-to-head results (divisional tiebreak); Packers over Rams based on head-to-head results
  • Rams over Seahawks based on head-to-head results
  • Buccaneers over Saints based on head-to-head results
  • Giants over Bears based on NFC win percentage

Miami Dolphins Week 14 rooting guide:

Rams at Ravens, 1 p.m. ET

Very straightforward game to start the rooting guide. The Dolphins are tied with the Ravens and, while the two teams will face off in a head-to-head contest in Week 17, seeing the Ravens drop out of the tie would give Miami a little breathing room atop the AFC. Plus, this is an NFC at AFC matchup, making it very obvious how this game needs to play out for Miami. Root for: Los Angeles.

Colts at Bengals, 1 p.m. ET

This game’s results do not really matter in the hunt for the AFC top seed, but if something were to happen to Miami and they had to fall back into the wild card race, this has implications. The Colts are 7-5 and in the wild card position. The Bengals are 6-6 and outside the playoff picture. This game could go either way, but there are benefits to more teams pulling into the seven-win group and the Colts losing provides that emergency cushion for the Dolphins if needed in the wild card race. Root for: Cincinnati

Jaguars at Browns, 1 p.m. ET

The Dolphins are a game up on the Jaguars in the race for the top spot in the AFC. Adding a little more space there makes sense. The Browns are 7-5 and are pushing the Ravens for the top spot in the AFC North and the teams split their division rivalry series this season. Why not root for chaos in the AFC North? Root for: Cleveland.

Texans at Jets, 1 p.m. ET

This one is not a clear, easy choice for the Dolphins fans - mostly because it does not impact the team much. The Texans could move into a tie with the Jaguars in the AFC South should Jacksonville lose and Houston win. This could much up the standings down the stretch as the division fights it out. The Jets are not in a position to be eliminated this week, but they are not making the playoffs as they move back to Zach Wilson at quarterback - and Miami plays the Jets next week. Chaos and more teams within winning records ahead of the Bills is good for Miami. Root for: Houston.

Vikings at Raiders, 4:05 p.m. ET

This game really has no direct impact on the Dolphins, but the strength of victory tiebreak could be a factor so we will keep it on the list. NFC versus AFC, but Miami beat the Raiders in Week 11. Root for: Las Vegas.

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

This hurts. Either way, you can make an argument for this game, but it feels like Miami has built a three-game lead in the AFC East for a reason. The Bills do not have any room for error if they want to fight their way back into the playoff picture, and they would be a tough matchup for the Dolphins but the Bills have tough matchups still to come, including next week against the Cowboys next week and the Dolphins in Week 18. If Miami claims the top spot, they have the bye week in the playoffs while the Bills would have to play a first-round game to make it to another trip to Miami. The Chiefs losing gives Miami more breathing room at the top of the conference to get that bye week and make everyone come to South Florida throughout the AFC playoffs. It is a valid argument if you want to see the Bills lose to make the path to the playoffs that much harder for them. But, I will instead look for Miami to pick up some space in the race among the division leaders. Root for: Buffalo.

Broncos at Chargers, 4:25 p.m. ET

Ultimately, this game does not impact Miami’s playoff chances all that much. Miami beat both of these teams, so the strength of victory does not change with the results. Both teams are outside the playoff picture right now. We will leave it on here for the vindictive choice of wanting to see the Broncos remain ahead of the Bills in the playoff picture, making it even tougher for Buffalo to climb back into the playoffs. Root for: Denver.

Games with no impact on Dolphins:
Buccaneers at Falcons, 1 p.m ET
Panthers at Saints, 1 p.m. ET
Seahawks at 49ers, 4:05 p.m. ET
Eagles at Cowboys, 8:20 p.m. ET
Packers at Giants, 8:15 p.m. ET Monday


If everything above were to play out, the top four seeds in the AFC playoff picture would remain in their same positions, with Miami at 10-3, the Ravens at 9-4, and the Chiefs and Jaguars both at 8-5. The wild card would have the Browns at 8-5 in the fifth seed, the Texans at 8-5 in the sixth seed, and the Steelers at 7-6 in the seventh seed. Just outside the playoff bubble, the Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, and Buffalo Bills would all be 7-6.