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NFL playoff picture: What does Dolphins-Patriots mean for AFC standings

The Dolphins face the Patriots in Foxboro on Sunday. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

A general view during the second half between the New York Jets and New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Result: New England edged the Dolphins with a 23-21 victory in Sunday. The Patriots staved off elimination and controls its own destiny as the current seventh seed in the AFC. The Dolphins are now on the outside looking in, but not eliminated from playoff contention.

The NFL opens Week 17’s Sunday slate with a huge AFC East showdown. The Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots face off at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro with significant playoff implications for both teams. The game kicks off at 1 p.m. ET and the Patriots are a field goal favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook due to Tua Tagovailoa’s absence. The Dolphins QB is sitting out the game due to a concussion and Teddy Bridgewater is starting in his place.

Dolphins playoff picture

Miami is 8-7 and sits in seventh place in the overall AFC standings. The Bills clinched the AFC West and so the Dolphins’ only playoff shot is as a wild card. They are a game back of the sixth-place Chargers and a game up on the Patriots, Jets, Titans, and Steelers.

Miami can clinch a playoff berth with a win and a Jets loss. If the Jets win and the Dolphins lose, New England would take over the final playoff berth for the time-being, while Miami would drop behind seventh-place New York.

If the Dolphins and Jets both win this weekend, their Week 18 meeting could determine the final playoff berth. New York won the Week 5 matchup and would secure the head-to-head tiebreaker with a win or tie in Week 18.

Patriots playoff picture

New England is 7-8 and leads the tiebreakers with the Jets, Titans, and Steelers. They swept the Jets in their head-to-head series, which provides that edge. They have a better conference record than the Titans and Steelers to give them the edge there.

The Patriots are eliminated from playoff contention with a loss. They would move into seventh place if they beat the Dolphins.

Tiebreaker implications

This implicates the head-to-head, division record, and conference record tiebreakers.