AFC East: Ranking Run Defense: Bills and Fins edge Pats and Jets

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No. 2: Miami Dolphins

Strength: Defensive Line. Jaelan Phillips and Christian Wilkins form a terrific duo of young D-linemen. Phillips, a 2021 1st-round selection out of the University of Miami, is entering his third season and had an overall defensive grade of 88.8 in 2022. Wilkins, another 1st-round selection, is entering his fifth season and had an overall defensive grade of 82.2 in 2022. Zach Sieler, a 7th-round steal (2018 draft/Baltimore Ravens) out of Ferris State,  is an underrated player, with a strong defensive run grade of 77.9 and a No. 16 ranking among all interior defensive lineman in 2022 by Pro Football Focus. The Dolphins have added even more quality depth on the line with new-addition Bradley Chubb to go along with Emmanuel Ogbah.

Weakness. None. The Dolphins would, however, like to see more production from RaeKwon Davis. Davis had a very low rushing defense grade of 37.30 in 2022 and all his defensive grades have trended downward since an excellent rookie year in 2020.

X-Factor: New Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio. The hiring of Fangio, who has a lengthy and successful record as a defensive coach, has been as widely praised as the Pats hiring of new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. The Athletic said of Fangio:

"Though his three years as a head coach in Denver ultimately didn’t work out, Fangio continued to show he is one of the game’s best defensive tacticians. That was particularly true in the red zone, where Fangio produced the NFL’s best defense from 2019 to 2021."

Nick Kosmider and The Athletic Staff