Chiefs Loss Improves Miami Dolphins’ Playoff Picture, But They Still Don’t Control Destiny

The Miami Dolphins' playoff picture got a lot clearer with the Packers' win over the Chiefs, but there's still one variable beyond their control.

The 9-3 Miami Dolphins woke up Monday morning as the new No. 1 seed in the AFC. But by the time their heads hit the pillow at day’s end, they could be back out of the top spot in the conference with five to play.

That’s the downside of playing the AFC’s easiest schedule through the season’s 13 weeks.

But there is good news: The Dolphins can now assure themselves no worse than the AFC’s No. 2 seed — and give them an excellent shot at a first-round bye — if they win out.

Miami Dolphins’ Playoff Picture Through Sunday’s Games

The big AFC news of the weekend was the Packers’ home upset of the Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) Sunday night, which both dropped the Chiefs to the No. 4 seed and took care of Miami’s biggest head-to-head weakness.

The Chiefs owned pretty much every tiebreaker against the Dolphins by virtue of their win in Germany a few weeks back and a superior conference record, strength of schedule, and strength of victory.

That all changes now that Kansas City has a fourth loss — becoming the only AFC division leader with more than three. (Don’t count the Chiefs out altogether, however; their remaining schedule — .390 — is the fourth-easiest in football and by far the easiest of the division leaders.)

So if the Dolphins win their last five games, they’re now guaranteed to finish ahead of both the Chiefs and the projected AFC North champion Baltimore Ravens (who, at 9-3, are currently the AFC’s second seed).

MORE: Miami Dolphins vs. Washington Commanders Observations

The Dolphins and Ravens meet in Week 17, a game that could ultimately decide the AFC’s top seed.

But there’s one variable in this equation over which the Dolphins have no control: the Jacksonville Jaguars.

No one’s talking about the dudes from Duval, but they should be. The Jaguars (8-3 through Sunday’s games, the No. 3 team in the AFC) are the one team left that could block the Dolphins, even if Mike McDaniel’s bunch runs the table.

Why? The Jaguars, at 14-3, would have the edge on the Dolphins on common opponents. The Jaguars, in that scenario, would have one loss against those common foes (the Chiefs, Bills, Titans, and Ravens). The Dolphins already have two, losing to both Kansas City and Buffalo.

So the Dolphins still need some help. The likeliest place that help will come? In Week 15, when the Jags host the Ravens.

Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more! 

Listen to the PFN Dolphins Podcast

Listen to the PFN Dolphins Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Dolphins Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Dolphins Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.

Join the Conversation!

Related Articles