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NFL playoff picture: What does Packers-Dolphins mean for NFC and AFC standings

The Packers face the Dolphins in Miami on Christmas Day. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

A general view of the field prior to the game between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Results update: The Packers win 26-20, and keep their playoff hopes alive. If they win out, they’ll likely get into the wild card round since one of those wins would be over the Lions. The Dolphins are now in a bit of trouble themselves with this loss, as they’ll be playing the Patriots and Jets in the final two games. Miami’s loss also keeps both Pittsburgh and Las Vegas alive in the AFC playoff picture heading into Week 17.

The NFL kicks off a Christmas Day tripleheader with the Miami Dolphins hosting the Green Bay Packers at 1 p.m. ET. After a Saturday of miserably cold weather, Sunday will feature three warm-weather games. And the opener features a pair of teams competing for a playoff opportunity. The Dolphins are a 3.5-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Packers playoff picture

Green Bay is 6-8 and sitting in tenth place in the overall NFC standings. They can’t be eliminated with a loss, but would be moved to the precipice of playoff elimination if they don’t lose to the Dolphins. The Commanders Christmas Eve loss to the 49ers leaves the door open and would allow the Packers to move closer to a playoff berth.

If the Packers win, they remain in tenth place, with the Seahawks and Lions ahead of them behind the Commanders. Detroit has the head-to-head tiebreaker over Green Bay for now, and Seattle has the head-to-head over Detroit. But, with Packers-Lions lined up for Week 18, there’s still a chance that game matters. If the Packers lose, they could drop depending on the common games tiebreaker with the Panthers.

Dolphins playoff picture

Miami is 8-6 and sitting in seventh place in the AFC standings, having been eliminated from division contention with the Bills win on Saturday. The Dolphins are tied with the Chargers, but trail them due to the Chargers win over them. Miami is currently a game and a half ahead of the Patriots, Jets, Titans, and Steelers for the final playoff spot.

If the Dolphins win, they would give themselves a two-game lead on the non-playoff teams with two games remaining. That means they would clinch a playoff berth with a win or tie in Week 17. If the Dolphins lose, they drop to a game up and with a game against the Patriots in Week 17 and the Jets in Week 18, it gets really interesting.

Tiebreaker implications

This game will implicate the common games tiebreaker for both teams in their wild card races.