Dolphins’ case to win the AFC East

If Tom Brady misses four games, Miami looks positioned to make a run at the AFC East title.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Dolphins’ case to win the AFC East


The Bills’ general manager is openly lamenting his bad quarterback situation (and our numbers paint an even bleaker picture), the Jets just saw their starting QB sidelined by way of a teammate’s sucker punch (although we actually see Ryan Fitzpatrick as an upgrade over Geno Smith) and the Patriots are bracing for having to play the first four games of the season without Tom Brady.

By process of elimination, the Dolphins are having the best offseason in their division, and that’s before getting into their personnel upgrades. The acquisitions of free agent Ndamukong Suh, owner of PFFs third-highest nose tackle grade, and positively graded receiving talents in TE Jordan Cameron (free agent) and WR Kenny Stills (trade), plus the drafting of playmakers WR DeVante Parker and RB Jay Ajayi have made for a significant overall talent improvement.

Miami management also successfully locked-up QB Ryan Tannehill, PFFs 11th-graded quarterback from 2014, to a four-year contract extension, giving them by far the division’s best QB situation until Brady returns to the field.

While the Dolphins will face the Patriots later in the season following Brady’s suspension, they could build enough of an early lead to be a serious threat to New England for the AFC East title.

| Analyst

Wes is an analyst and fantasy correspondent at Pro Football Focus. He's been with the company since 2014, and his work has been featured on DraftKings Playbook and FantasyPros.

  • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

    they better do something this year or philbin will be gone, plus Suh’s cap numbers going forward are gonna require some blowing up of the roster as is

    • unbiased truth

      I agree 100% Malachi – this is the year they need to not only make playoffs but make a decent playoff run, not one and done, or Philbin is gone. Also, you are correct about Suh’s cap hit, they will need to make some significant rosters moves / cap room savings after this year, but the good news is they have a strong core (Tannehill locked up, WR’s) to allow them to still be competitive for many years as long as Tannehill continues to progress…

  • Jason Williams

    I am so baffled by everyone’s fascination with the Dolphins – where is the evidence that this is a contender quality team? I think they have as decent a shot as anyone else but it’s not like they TORE through December and then just missed the playoffs.

    • Phins Watch

      I may be slightly bias here, but this team is as complete of a team as you will find in the AFC East, outside of the reigning Superbowl Champions. The discussion would look different if either of the team’s in New York had (at the very least) a decent QB to lean on. The Bills are good, but their lack of QB play will display a team that looks a lot like last year’s. The JETS – losing Sheldon Richardson, a hobbled Muhummed Wilkerson, and now Geno? I personally have reservations about the Pat’s losing Brandon Browner, Darrel Revis, and Wilfork in one off-season as well.

    • Tim Edell

      Evidence this is a quality team? They were 9-7 last year and vastly improved over last year. Their DL with Suh, Wake, and Vernon is going to be a nightmare for opposing QBs. If they sign Evan Mathis to solidify their gaurd play I will consider the Dolphins the favorites to win the division.

  • Devin Balkaran

    I don’t see the Pats going 0-4 to start the season even if Brady is out for 4 games. Even if the Pats go 11-5 the Dolphins would have to beat the Cowboys, Ravens, Chargers, Colts, the Pats towards the end of the season, and sweep the rest of the division which I don’t think they’ll do. I think the Dolphins go 9-7 and fall to the Bills once.

    • gllmiaspr

      Devin: One comment. The Dolphins are Vegas favorites to win every one of the 1st 6 games. After that they are favorites against the Jets (away), Dallas (home), Giants (home) and have two pick’em games against the Ravens and Colts.
      Assuming Miami wins every game they are supposed to and split the two pick’em games they will be going to the week 17 games against the Patriots at 10-5. They are an underdog in that game but have beat the Patriots twice at home in the last two years.
      Know they have fizzled in December before-twice. But I like their chances this year.

  • BartDePalma

    MIA has the talent and arguably the most balanced team on the AFCE. Can they finish games and the season???

  • Coy Combs

    If they can stop choking down the stretch this team could contend. Lamar Miller will be even better this year and the WR group looks improved. The D will be better this year with more interior pressure and the whole collapse last year was predicated on getting gashed by the run. That will doubtfully be the case after adding Suh and Phillips. They may not have the best D line in the NFL but they have the deepest, PERIOD. Watch Phillips, Shelby, and especially Fede in his second year. All three of those guys would start most places and mark my words Fede will make Vernon expendable in this his contract year.