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AFC Playoff Picture: Miami Dolphins likely to clinch playoff spot at Bills Stadium Sunday

Intrigue in Week 17

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

With the majority of Week 16’s games concluded, the NFL’s playoff picture has really taken shape. The Buffalo Bills are the only team remaining in the playoff race yet to play, and a huge cluster of teams is below them jockeying for position.

Five teams in the AFC are 10-5 and battling for four playoff spots—those being the Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, and Indianapolis Colts. None of them play each other in the final game. There is so much intrigue, especially in the AFC South where the Titans and Colts could each be the AFC South Champ, Wild Card team, or completely out of the postseason altogether.

Heading into the final week of the season, the team at the top of the Wild Card race is the Miami Dolphins (with the Titans in the lead for the AFC South). They currently have an 87 percent chance of making the playoffs according to the NY Times Playoff Machine. If they win against the Bills in Buffalo in Week 17, they are guaranteed a playoff spot.

Even if Miami loses to Buffalo, they have nearly a 75 percent chance of making the postseason. That’s because of their lead in the AFC record tiebreaker. If Baltimore, Cleveland, or Indianapolis lose, Miami would still make the playoffs at 10-6.

Here is the lineup for Sunday:

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
1:00 p.m. EST

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
1:00 p.m. EST

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns
1:00 p.m. EST

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts
1:00 p.m. EST

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
1:00 p.m. EST

The Bills and Steelers also have something to play for in these games, as the two teams will be jockeying for the two seed in the AFC, securing a second home playoff game in the process.

In 2017, the Bills clinched their first playoff spot in 17 years with a win in Miami and a loss by the Baltimore Ravens. Bills players and fans were celebrating in Dolphins Stadium while Miami wasn’t in the postseason. It would seem Miami has a pretty good chance to celebrate their own playoff berth in the locker room at Bills Stadium this week.