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The Miami Dolphins emerged victorious from a three-team battle for the final AFC wildcard spot in the opening games of Week 18.
The Dolphins used three field goals to beat the New York Jets and they received help from the Buffalo Bills to secure a postseason berth.
Miami entered the AFC wildcard standings Sunday behind the New England Patriots.
Buffalo’s win, which would secure second place in the AFC, allowed the Dolphins to enter the postseason with Jason Sanders’ game-winning field goal.
Miami’s win eliminated the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh beat the Cleveland Browns, but it didn’t get the help it needed from the Jets to get into the postseason.
The entire AFC playoff field will be set after the early afternoon window.
All attention now turns to the NFC, where the number 1 and final wild card spot is still up for grabs.
1 Kansas City (14-3)
2 buffalo (13-3)
3 Cincinnati (12-4)
4 Jacksonville (9-8)
5 Chargers from Los Angeles (10-6)
7 Miami (9-8)
Miami jumped to the final wildcard spot with their win over the New York Jets and Buffalo’s win over New England.
The Dolphins haven’t done their best at home with Skylar Thompson at quarterback.
However, their defense held up against Joe Flacco and didn’t allow a touchdown.
Jason Sanders won the game by 23 seconds on a field goal. Miami added a late safety after the Jets’ lateral play sent the ball wide in the end zone.
The bottom line doesn’t matter to the Dolphins. All that matters is that they reach the wild card round.
New England were eliminated by their loss to Buffalo and Pittsburgh came up short by their head-to-head loss to the Dolphins in Week 7.
Nothing changed at the top of the AFC on Sunday.
The Kansas City Chiefs secured first place on Saturday with a win over the Las Vegas Raiders.
Buffalo’s home win over New England, powered by two kickoff return touchdowns by Nyheim Hines and three interceptions by Mac Jones, kept the Bills in second place.
Josh Allen and Co. will not play a real away game in the AFC postseason. If the Bills and Chiefs advance to the AFC championship game, that competition will be played at a neutral venue.
Buffalo would host the AFC Championship Game if the Chiefs lost sometime in the postseason.
Cincinnati stayed in third place with their win over the Baltimore Ravens. The Bengals host the Ravens in the wildcard round after their home win.
Baltimore is confirmed as the No. 6 seed. The Los Angeles Chargers are No. 5 and will travel to Jacksonville to take on AFC South winners Jaguars.
Los Angeles’ result against the Denver Broncos does not affect the playoff seeding.
Head of department
1 Philly (13-3)
2 Minnesota (13-4)
3 San Francisco (12-4)
4 Tampa Bay (8-9)
5 Dallas (12-4)
6 New York Giants (9-6-1)
8 Detroit (8-8)
9 Green Bay (8-8)
The NFC playoff image will be sorted out in the late afternoon and nighttime windows.
The Philadelphia Eagles can secure first place overall with a win over the New York Giants.
Jalen Hurts is back for the Eagles while the Giants start Davis Webb for being stuck at number 6.
New York’s most likely opponents in the wild card round are the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota beat the Chicago Bears in the early window.
The Vikings are currently No. 3 in the seed. They need a San Francisco 49ers loss to the Arizona Cardinals to skip the NFC West champion.
Minnesota and New York played at US Bank Stadium two weeks ago. The Vikings won 27-24 after a last-second field goal from Greg Joseph.
The 49ers will be No. 2 with a win over Arizona and a win over Philadelphia. A loss for the Eagles and a win for the 49ers put San Francisco at the top.
The Dallas Cowboys need losses at the hands of the Eagles and 49ers and a win over the Washington Commanders to become the No. Dallas will likely be No. 5 and will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay secured the No. 4 by winning the NFC South last week. The Buccaneers rested their starters for much of Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
The No. 7 seed traces its roots to the Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, and Green Bay Packers.
Green Bay is in a win-and-in situation Sunday night.
Seattle secures a playoff spot with a win over the Los Angeles Rams and a Packers loss to the Detroit Lions. Seattle owns the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Lions.
Detroit is there with a win over Green Bay and a loss to Seattle.