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Dolphins Playoff Outlook Through Week 13

The Miami Dolphins continued their winning streak in Week 13, while results around the league were a mixed bag in terms of helping them make a playoff push

While it remains a long shot that the Miami Dolphins will be able to overcome their 1-7 start to make the playoffs, it's now pretty unanimous that they at least belong "in the playoff picture."

And, as we've stated before, the Dolphins pretty much have used up their margin for error with those seven losses, based on projectfivethirtyeight.com's projections, which give the Dolphins a 74 percent to make the playoffs if they finish 10-7 but only 10 percent if they go 9-8 and the loss comes in the Dec. 27 game at New Orleans or 6 percent with a 9-8 record and the loss against one of the three AFC opponents left on the schedule — the Jets, Titans or Patriots.

AFC Standings as of 12/7/21

The results of the past weekend weren't overall very favorable for the Dolphins, with four of the six games affecting failing to achieve the desired outcome.

Those four were Pittsburgh over Baltimore; the L.A. Chargers over Cincinnati; Indianapolis over Houston; and New England over Buffalo on Monday night. The two outcomes that helped were Washington over Las Vegas and Kansas City over Denver.

The good news for the Dolphins is that they stand only a game and a half behind fifth place in the AFC standings, where currently belongs to the Chargers with a 7-5 record. The bad news is that there are five teams between the Dolphins and the seventh-place Bills, who also are 7-5.

That means the Dolphins are likely to need some help along the way.

The good news in that department is that AFC playoff contenders will be facing each other on a regular basis over those final five weeks. What will help the Dolphins is for a team or two to go on the roll and keep beating other AFC contenders as opposed to teams trading wins.

And then it obviously will help any time an NFC team or non-contender can beat a playoff contender.

Having presented all this, things are pretty muddled right now because there are five weeks left and so many contenders involved, but we're at least able to have that conversation, which certainly didn't appear realistic when the Dolphins were 1-7.

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REMAINING AFC PLAYOFF CONTENDER SCHEDULES

New England (9-4): at Indianapolis, vs. Buffalo, vs. Jacksonville, at Miami

Tennessee (8-4): vs. Jacksonville, at Pittsburgh, vs. San Francisco, vs. Miami, at Houston

Baltimore (8-4): at Cleveland, vs. Green Bay, at Cincinnati, vs. L.A. Rams, vs. Pittsburgh

Kansas City (8-4): vs. Las Vegas, at L.A. Chargers, vs. Pittsburgh, at Cincinnati, at Denver

Buffalo (7-5): at Tampa Bay, vs. Carolina, at New England, vs. Atlanta, vs. N.Y. Jets

L.A. Chargers (7-5): vs. N.Y. Giants, vs. Kansas City, at Houston, vs. Denver, at Las Vegas

Cincinnati (7-5): vs. San Francisco, at Denver, vs. Baltimore, vs. Kansas City, at Cleveland

Pittsburgh (6-5-1): at Minnesota, vs. Tennessee, at Kansas City, vs. Cleveland, at Baltimore

Indianapolis (7-6): vs. New England, at Arizona, vs. Las Vegas, at Jacksonville

Las Vegas (6-6): at Kansas City, at Cleveland, vs. Denver, at Indianapolis, vs. L.A. Chargers

Cleveland (6-6): vs. Baltimore, vs. Las Vegas, at Green Bay, at Pittsburgh, vs. Cincinnati

Denver (6-6): vs. Detroit, vs. Cincinnati, at Las Vegas, at L.A. Chargers, vs. Kansas City