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

The Dolphins face the Chargers in Los Angeles on Sunday night. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers warms up before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 04, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Week 14’s edition of Sunday Night Football will see quite the AFC battle. The Miami Dolphins will head west to take on the Los Angeles Chargers. Kickoff from SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California is set for 8:20 p.m. ET, and the game will air on NBC.

Dolphins playoff picture

Miami has an 8-4 record and sit in second place in the AFC East. With the Buffalo Bills winning earlier on Sunday, win or lose, the Dolphins will remain in second place in the division as well as the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff picture.

Chargers playoff picture

The Chargers are in a similar position. They are 6-6, but win or loss, they will remain in second place in the AFC West. Only seven teams make the playoffs from each conference, and Los Angeles is currently team No. 9 in the AFC. With a win and a Patriots loss to the Cardinals on Monday, the Chargers would jump to the No. 7 seed in the AFC playoffs. With a win and a Patriots win, they would move up to eighth place.

Tiebreaker implications

The most significant tiebreaker in play is conference record. The Chargers are not going to win the division and the Patriots and Jets are their biggest competitors for the wild card. They don’t play each other this year, so it goes to conference record. If the Dolphins fight back to a tie with the Bills, conference record is the fourth tiebreaker between division-mates.