2. Miami Dolphins
2016 Record: 10-6, 2nd in the AFC East
Don’t expect the Miami Dolphins to win the division next season, however, know that they’re on the rise. The ‘Phins made the playoffs for the first time in eight years last season and they could make another run in 2017. Second-year running back Jay Ajayi finished 2016 with eight touchdowns and over a thousand yards rushing, while wide receiver Jarvis Landry was invited to his second Pro Bowl in two years.
The Dolphins were 4-2 versus the AFC East in 2016, a big improvement from last year when they finished of 1-5. Miami swept the Jets and Bills, although, they couldn’t get passed New England. In Week 2, the Dolphins’ almost came back versus the Patriots, posting 21 points in the second-half to cut their lead to 31-24.
Miami emphasized defense in the draft, taking linebackers Charles Harris and Raekwon McMillan, and cornerback Cordrea Tankersley. On offense, the team retained wide receiver Kenny Stills and traded for former Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas. Re-signing Stills was crucial, as he led Miami with nine touchdowns in 2016. Additionally, Thomas should produce much better numbers than former starting tight end, Jordan Cameron.
In Week 3, the Jets will host Miami in their first division game. New York visits the Dolphins in Week 7, followed by four games against New England and Buffalo after Thanksgiving. According to ESPN, The Dolphins average more passing yards per game when the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit than above 80 degrees. So, Miami should have no issue with visiting the Pats and Bills in December.