The Miami Dolphins head into Week 16 of the 2023 NFL season with a 10-4 record, a two-game lead in the AFC East, and the second position in the AFC playoff picture. The Dolphins could come out of Week 16 with a playoff berth clinched and, with a little help, could also claim the AFC East title. What needs to happen?
For a playoff berth, the simplest path is for the Dolphins to beat the Dallas Cowboys. Win and they are in. If they tie with Dallas, there are several of scenarios that could still land Miami in the postseason. If the Jacksonville Jaguars lose, the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans lose, the Colts lose or tie and the Cleveland Browns lose, the Texans and the Cincinnati Bengals lose or tie, or the Bengals and Colts both lose or tie, Miami would clinch with the draw against Dallas.
As for the AFC East, the Dolphins need to win and have the Buffalo Bills lose or tie or Miami tie and the Bills lose. The Bills are at the Los Angeles Chargers this weekend. The Chargers are on the verge of elimination, with a loss to Buffalo ending any hope they have of making a late-season charge into the postseason. Could that be enough of a motivating factor for Los Angeles to pull off the upset?
Miami is also in the running for the first seed in the AFC, but they cannot clinch that this weekend. That position likely comes down to who wins in Week 17 when the Dolphins visit the Baltimore Ravens. The winner of that game locks in the head-to-head tiebreak for the year, essentially locking down the number one seed, along with the home-field advantage and wild card bye that the position brings with it.
The Dolphins have everything they wanted from the regular season laid out in front of them. They can start securing their spot in the postseason on Sunday afternoon.