I know what your saying, “Did you forget that the Miami Dolphins play in the same division with the New England Patriots?” And while you make a valid point, there is no denying the fact that the Patriots are not as great as they once were. With Ryan Tannehill now running the offense in South Beach and with the offseason addition of Mike Wallace, the Dolphins are destined to break the .500 mark for the first time since way back in 2008 when they were able to make the postseason, but lost in the first round to the Baltimore Ravens.
With the Patriots losing Wes Welker in the offseason to the Denver Broncos and with Rob Gronkowski‘s health still in question, you have to think that the potent Patriots offense won’t be as potent as it has been in years past. And we all know of the struggles the Patriots defense has had, ranking 25th in overall defense in 2012 and 31st overall in 2011. By all means, the Pats will still make the playoffs this year like usual. You can’t disregard the coaching of Bill Belichick and they will most likely win the AFC East for the fifth consecutive year, but it will not be as easy as it has been for them in past years, if the Dolphins have anything to say about it.
Sure, the Dolphins lost great players in Jake Long and Reggie Bush, but both are replaceable, especially Bush. One of the biggest issues for the Dolphins last year was not having a down field threat for Tannehill to throw to, but he somehow managed to throw for over 3,000 yards and 12 touchdowns. Saying last year’s receiving core for Miami was mediocre is being modest. They were atrocious and one of the league’s worst. But with the addition of Wallace, I expect Tannehill to put up way better numbers than he did in 2012. Its not only Wallace the Dolphins added as weapons for Tannehill, they also acquired Brandon Gibson from the St. Louis Rams, who accounted for 691 yards with five touchdowns. That alone is a pretty potent group of receivers, but the Dolphins still have Brain Hartline who accounted for over 1,000 yards receiving in 2012.
Don’t expect only the Dolphins offense to be more potent, the Miami defense is not a unit to sleep either. While a few veterans were released in Sean Smith, Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett, the Dolphins have the pieces to replace these players in Brent Grimes, Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe. The defensive line will return all of last year’s starters for the 2013 season and both starting safeties, Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons, will be returning as well.
So with the Patriots losing ground by the year and the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills being well…the Jets and Bills, the Dolphins should be able to secure second place in the AFC East and possibly a wild card spot in the 2013 season. One thing is for sure though, the 2013 Miami Dolphins will be a fun team to watch and one to keep your eye on.