The Miami Dolphins had a chance to avoid the Pittsburgh Steelers with a win on Sunday. After falling behind 27-13 heading into the 4th quarter, Miami still had a key possession where they took a drive deep into New England territory. However, they turned the ball over near New England's goal line and instead of cutting the lead down to six, the Patriots scored a touchdown and a 2-point conversion to extend the lead to 21. The swing was too much to overcome and Miami's playoff outlook looks a lot worse as a result. That 21-point lead would hold up as the Patriots defeated the Dolphins 35-14 to end both teams' regular seasons.

Miami will face the Steelers

Miami, with a win and luck, could have been the 5th seed heading to Houston, however the Dolphins instead will be the 6th seed and they will have to travel to Pittsburgh next week. That's a bad match-up for the Dolphins as they have trouble stopping the run and the Steelers feature one of the best running backs in Le'Veon Bell. Furthermore, most would list Pittsburgh among the favorites to win the Super Bowl while Houston would be on a longer list. The Dolphins truly did squander a chance for something better on Sunday, however, their fans will take some comfort in that they are still in the playoffs. At many points in the season, even when they had nice winning streaks, they were not considered core playoff contenders.

New England guaranteed No. 1

The result of the game also means that New England will have the top seed in their conference playoffs. They were looking at possibly losing that to Oakland if NE lost and the Raiders won. However, New England will finish the season 14-2 and the Raiders, if they beat the Denver Broncos, will still only finish 2nd.

Oakland may yet fall to 5th if they lose and the Kansas City Chiefs win their game, one that will be played at 4:25pm ET. Heading into the 2nd set of Week 17 games, the AFC looks like this:

  • No. 1 seed New England Patriots (can't be changed)
  • No. 2 seed Oakland Raiders
  • No. 3 seed Pittsburgh Steelers (can't be changed)
  • No. 4 seed Houston Texans (can't be changed)
  • No. 5 seed Kansas City Chiefs
  • No. 6 seed Miami Dolphins (can't be changed)