clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL playoff standings Week 17: Playoff picture and Miami Dolphins fan rooting guide

We are on to Week 17 of the 2023 NFL season, with the Miami Dolphins looking to clinch the AFC East and position themselves for the top spot in the conference playoff picture. What needs to happen?

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

Week 17 of the 2023 NFL season opened with the Cleveland Browns beating the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football. It was not the perfect result for the Miami Dolphins, but it did not immediately impact the South Florida franchise’s positioning in the AFC playoff picture.

The Dolphins have positioned themselves where they are no longer fighting to make it into the playoffs, having clinched their spot last week. Instead, they are battling for their seeding position in the AFC bracket. Most of what has to happen for the Dolphins is really up to the Dolphins: two wins clinches the top seed in the conference, home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and a first-round bye. They do not need help to get everything they want - but help is always appreciated.

Week 17 continues on Saturday night with a special Monday Night Football presentation. The league moved the schedule off of Monday this week to clear the space for the College Football Playoff games played on New Year’s Day. The Saturday edition of MNF features the Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys.

The Sunday schedule includes the Dolphins at Ravens game at 1 p.m. ET. Joining the marquee matchup of the weekend in the early afternoon slot are the New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills, Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears, Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans, Las Vegas Raiders at Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams at New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and San Francisco 49ers at Washington Commanders games.

The late afternoon slot has the Pittsburgh Steelers at Seattle Seahawks game kicking off at 4:05 p.m. ET. Twenty minutes later, they will be joined by the Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs games.

The Sunday Night Football game, closing out the week’s schedule, will broadcast the Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings game.

The AFC playoff picture continues with the Ravens at the top and the Dolphins in the second position, with both teams claiming their spot in the playoffs this year but neither having clinched their respective divisions. They are joined by the Cleveland Browns, currently the top wild card team and the fifth seed, in the group of teams who are locked into the postseason.

The Kansas City Chiefs, in the fourth seed, lead the AFC West but still need to be locked into the playoffs. Same for the Jacksonville Jaguars, leading the AFC South and the fourth seed entering the week. The Bills are in the sixth seed position, the second wild card team, while the Indianapolis Colts are the seventh seed.

The Houston Texans, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Las Vegas Raiders, and Denver Broncos are all still in the hunt for a playoff position.

The NFC playoff picture already has four teams locked into the tournament, including the top three seeds, who are tied at 11-4 on the season. The San Francisco 49ers are the first seed, followed by the Philadelphia Eagles and the Detroit Lions. The Dallas Cowboys, at 10-5, are a game behind the Eagles in the NFC East battle and are currently in the fifth seed position as the top wild card team for the NFC.

Still fighting to clinch their spot in the playoffs in the NFC are the NFC South leading Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks, holding the sixth- and seventh-seed positions, respectively.

The Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, and Chicago Bears are all alive in the NFC playoff battle.

Taking a look at the Week 17 schedule, we provide Dolphins fans with the rooting guide for every game that impacts the team’s playoff chances.


AFC East standings (through Week 17 Thursday Night Football):

Miami Dolphins (11-4)
Buffalo Bills (9-6) - 2GB
New York Jets (6-10)* - Eliminated
New England Patriots (4-11) - Eliminated

*Week 17 game played

Week 17 schedule:
Jets 20 - 37 Browns
Dolphins at Ravens, 1 p.m. ET Sunday
Patriots at Bills, 1 p.m. ET Sunday


AFC playoff picture (through Week 17 Thursday Night Football):

1 - Baltimore Ravens (12-3, AFC North leader)x
2 - Miami Dolphins (11-4, AFC East leader)x
3 - Kansas City Chiefs (9-6, AFC West leader)
4 - Jacksonville Jaguars (8-7, AFC South leader)

5 - Cleveland Browns (11-5, Wild Card 1 position)x*
6 - Buffalo Bills (9-6, Wild Card 2 position)
7 - Indianapolis Colts (8-7, Wild Card 3 position)

Houston Texans (8-7)
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7)
Cincinnati Bengals (8-7)
Las Vegas Raiders (7-8)
Denver Broncos (7-8)

Eliminated:
New York Jets (6-10)*
Tennessee Titans (5-10)
Los Angeles Chargers (5-10)
New England Patriots (4-11)

x Playoff berth clinched
* Week 17 game complete

Tiebreaks:

  • Jaguars over Colts and Texans based on head-to-head results
  • Colts over Texans based on head-to-head results (divisional tiebreak); Steelers over Bengals based on head-to-head results (division tiebreak); Colts over Steelers based on head-to-head results
  • Steelers over Bengals based on head-to-head results (divisional tiebreak); Texans over Steelers based on head-to-head results
  • Steelers over Bengals based on head-to-head results
  • Raiders over Broncos based on head-to-head results
  • Titans over Chargers based on head-to-head results

AFC Clinching Scenarios Week 17:

Bills clinch playoff berth with:

  • Bills win and Steelers loss/tie and Bengals loss/tie OR
  • Bills win and Steelers loss/tie and Jaguars loss/tie OR
  • Bills win and Steelers loss/tie and Texans loss/tie and Colts loss/tie OR
  • Bills win and Bengals loss/tie and Jaguars loss/tie OR
  • Bills win and Bengals loss/tie and Texans loss/tie and Colts loss/tie OR
  • Bills tie and Steelers loss and Bengals loss and Jaguars loss OR
  • Bills tie and Steelers loss and Bengals loss and Texans loss/tie OR
  • Bills tie and Steelers loss and Bengals loss and Colts loss/tie OR
  • Bills tie and Steelers loss and Jaguars loss and Texans loss/tie OR
  • Bills tie and Steelers loss and Jaguars loss and Colts loss/tie OR
  • Bills tie and Steelers loss and Texans loss and Colts loss OR
  • Bills tie and Bengals loss and Jaguars loss and Texans loss/tie OR
  • Bills tie and Bengals loss and Jaguars loss and Colts loss/tie OR
  • Bills tie and Bengals loss and Texans loss and Colts loss

Browns clinch playoff berth with: (Clinched)

  • Browns win OR
  • Steelers loss/tie OR
  • Bills loss OR
  • Jaguars loss/tie OR
  • Texans loss/tie and Colts loss/tie

Chiefs clinch AFC West title and playoff berth with:

  • Chiefs win OR
  • Raiders loss/tie and Broncos loss/tie

Dolphins clinch AFC East title with:

  • Dolphins win OR
  • Bills loss/tie

Jaguars clinch AFC South title and playoff berth with:

  • Jaguars win and Colts loss and Texans loss

Ravens clinch AFC North title and AFC top seed with:

  • Ravens win

AFC Elimination Scenarios Week 17 (via NFL Playoff Scenarios)

Bengals eliminated from playoffs with:

  • Bengals loss and Steelers win and Bills win/tie

Bills eliminated from AFC East title with:

  • Bills loss/tie OR
  • Dolphins win/tie

Broncos eliminated from playoffs with:

  • Broncos loss OR
  • Broncos tie and Jaguars win/tie OR
  • Broncos tie and Colts win/tie and Texans win/tie OR
  • Broncos tie and Steelers win/tie OR
  • Broncos tie and Bengals win OR
  • Chiefs win/tie and Bills win/tie and Steelers win OR
  • Chiefs win/tie and Bills win/tie and Texans win and Colts win and Jaguars win/tie OR
  • Chiefs win/tie and Texans win and Colts win and Jaguars loss/tie and Steelers win

Broncos eliminated from AFC West title with:

  • Broncos loss/tie OR
  • Chiefs win/tie

Browns eliminated from AFC North title with:

  • Ravens win/tie

Colts eliminated from AFC South title with:

  • Colts loss and Jaguars win

Jaguars eliminated from AFC South title with:

  • Jaguars loss and Colts win and Texans win/tie OR
  • Jaguars loss and Colts tie and Texans win

Raiders eliminated from playoffs with:

  • Raiders loss OR
  • Raiders tie and Jaguars win OR
  • Raiders tie and Steelers win OR
  • Raiders tie and Bengals win OR
  • Raiders tie and Jaguars loss and Texans win and Bengals tie OR
  • Raiders tie and Jaguars loss and Texans win and Steelers tie OR
  • Raiders tie and Jaguars loss and Texans win and a combination of 0.5 win/tie results for the Vikings/Buccaneers/Rams/Ravens/Chargers

Raiders eliminated from AFC West title with:

  • Raiders loss/tie OR
  • Chiefs win/tie

Steelers eliminated from playoffs with:

  • Steelers loss and Bills win/tie and Colts win and Texans win/tie and Broncos loss/tie OR
  • Steelers loss and Bills win/tie and Colts win and Texans win and Jaguars loss and Chiefs win/tie OR
  • Steelers loss and Bills win/tie and Colts win/tie and Jaguars win and Broncos loss/tie

Texans eliminated from playoffs with:

  • Texans loss and Colts win and Jaguars win and Bills win/tie OR
  • Texans loss and Colts win and Jagaurs win and Bengals win and Steelers loss/tie and Broncos loss/tie

Texans eliminated from AFC South title with:

  • Texans loss and Colts win OR
  • Texans loss and Jaguars win

NFC Playoff Picture (through Week 16)

1 - San Francisco 49ers (11-4, NFC West leader)y
2 - Philadelphia Eagles (11-4, NFC East leader)x
3 - Detroit Lions (11-4, NFC North leader)y
4 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7, NFC South leader)

5 - Dallas Cowboys (10-5, Wild Card 1 position)x
6 - Los Angeles Rams (8-7, Wild Card 2 position)
7 - Seattle Seahawks (7-7, Wild Card 3 position)

Minnesota Vikings (7-8)
Atlanta Falcons (7-8)
Green Bay Packers (7-8)
New Orleans Saints (7-8)
Chicago Bears (6-9)

Eliminated:
New York Giants (5-10)
Washington Commanders (4-11)
Arizona Cardinals (3-12)
Carolina Panthers (2-13)

x Playoff berth clinched
y Division title clinched

Tiebreaks:

  • 49ers over Eagles and Lions based on NFC winning percentage
  • Eagles over Lions based on strength of victory
  • Rams over Seahawks based on head-to-head results
  • Vikings over Packers based on head-to-head results (divisional tiebreak); Falcons over Saints based on head-to-head results (divisional tiebreak); Vikings over Falcons based on head-to-head results
  • Falcons over Saints based on head-to-head results (divisional tiebreak); Falcons over Packers based on head-to-head results
  • Packers over Saints based on head-to-head results

NFC Clinching Scenarios Week 17

49ers clinch NFC top seed with:

  • 49ers win and Lions loss and Eagles loss

Buccaneers clinch NFC South title and playoff berth with:

  • Buccaneers win OR
  • Buccaneers tie and Falcons loss

Eagles clinch NFC East title with:

  • Eagles win and Cowboys loss/tie OR
  • Eagles tie and Cowboys loss

Rams clinch playoff berth with:

  • Rams win and Seahawks loss OR
  • Rams win and Packers-Vikings tie

Seahawks clinch playoff berth with:

  • Seahawks win and Packers-Vikings tie

NFC Elimination Scenarios Week 17 (via NFL Playoff Scenarios)

Bears eliminated from playoffs with:

  • Bears loss/tie OR
  • Seahawks win/tie and Rams win/tie OR
  • Seahawks win/tie and Packers win OR
  • Seahawks win/tie and Vikings win OR
  • Rams win/tie and Packers win OR
  • Rams win/tie and Vikings win

Cowboys eliminated from NFC East title with:

  • Cowboys loss/tie and Eagles win OR
  • Cowboys loss and Eagles tie

Falcons eliminated from playoffs with:

  • Falcons loss and Buccaneers win/tie OR
  • Falcons tie and Buccaneers win and Rams tie and Seahawks win/tie OR
  • Falcons tie and Buccaneers win and Rams win and Seahawks tie OR
  • Buccaneers win and Rams win and Seahawks win

Falcons eliminated from NFC South title with:

  • Seahawks loss and Buccaneers tie OR
  • Buccaneers win

Packers eliminated from playoffs with:

  • Packers loss and Seahawks win/tie OR
  • Packers loss and Rams win/tie OR
  • Packers loss and Buccaneers tie and Falcons win OR
  • Packers loss and Saints win and Falcons win and Cardinals win and a combination of 5.5 wins/tie results from Cowboys/Commanders/Bengals/Broncos/Colts/Jaguars OR
  • Packers tie and Seahawks win and Rams win

Saints eliminated from playoffs with:

  • Saints loss OR
  • Saints tie and Seahawks win/tie and Rams win/tie

Saints eliminated from NFC South title with:

  • Saints loss/tie

Vikings eliminated from playoffs with:

  • Vikings loss and Seahawks win/tie and Rams win/tie OR
  • Vikings loss and Seahawks win/tie and Buccaneers tie and Falcons win OR
  • Vikings loss and Rams win/tie and Buccaneers tie and Falcons tie OR
  • Vikings tie and Seahawks win and Rams win

Miami Dolphins Week 17 rooting guide:

Patriots at Bills, 1 p.m. ET Sunday

There really is only one game remaining on the schedule this week that impacts Miami immediately. The Dolphins clinch the AFC East with either a win over the Ravens or a Bills loss to the Patriots. Why not have both results and push the Bills to the brink of missing the playoffs? Root for: Patriots.

Bengals at Chiefs, 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday

If Miami splits their next two games, still winning the AFC East title but finishing with an 11-6 record, the Chiefs could slide ahead of them and into the second seed by winning out. Having Kansas City pick up a loss here would give Miami a little breathing room.

Games with no impact on Dolphins:
Lions at Cowboys, 8:15 p.m. ET Saturday
Falcons at Bears, 1 p.m. ET Sunday
Titans at Texans, 1 p.m. ET Sunday
Raiders at Colts, 1 p.m. ET Sunday
Panthers at Jaguars, 1 p.m. ET Sunday
Rams at Giants, 1 p.m. ET Sunday
Cardinals at Eagles, 1 p.m. ET Sunday
Saints at Buccaneers, 1 p.m. ET Sunday
49ers at Commanders, 1 p.m. ET Sunday
Steelers at Seahawks, 4:05 p.m. ET Sunday
Chargers at Broncos, 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday
Packers at Vikings, 8:20p.m. ET Sunday


A Dolphins win would give Miami into the AFC East title. A Dolphins win would push them into the top spot in the AFC playoff picture. This week is really about the Dolphins’ result. If the Dolphins should lose, a Bills loss would still give the Dolphins the division title, keeping them from having to go into a Week 18 meeting with the Bills where the winner claims the division.

A Dolphins loss, a Bills loss, and a Chiefs loss in Week 17 locks Miami into the second seed.