5 Reasons Why the Miami Dolphins Will Win the AFC East in 2014

5 Reasons Why the Miami Dolphins Will Win the AFC East in 2014

Ryan Tannehill
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins are at a crossroads. 2014 will be a make-or-break year for several members of the organization, most notably quarterback Ryan Tannehill and head coach Joe Philbin. It's time Miami to either finally emerge from mediocrity and into the playoffs or continue down the same path that has diminished the franchise's brand over the past decade. Here are five reasons why the Dolphins will be reunited with success by winning the AFC East.

5. Early Schedule Could Help Withstand Recent Hardship

Joe Philbin
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

5. Early Schedule Could Help Withstand Recent Hardship

Joe Philbin
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins aren't entering 2014 with much momentum. Recent hardship has put their prospects of competing for a playoff spot in doubt. Mike Pouncey will miss significant time after hip surgery, Knowshon Moreno is reportedly dealing with a lingering knee issue and Dion Jordan was recently suspended for four games. Miami will only play one true road game during its first five contests, though, which should help weather the storm.

4. Nowhere to Go but up for Offensive Line

Branden Albert
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

4. Nowhere to Go but up for Offensive Line

Branden Albert
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

To say 2013 was a disaster for Miami's offensive line, both on and off the field, would be putting it nicely. 58 sacks and a bullying saga defined Miami's season. The aforementioned loss of Mike Pouncey for at least four games won't help, but the remodeled unit, featuring four new starters, has nowhere to go but up. Growing pains are inevitable, as youth and a lack of cohesion will induce struggles, but drastic improvement is on the horizon.

3. New OC Bill Lazor Will Revolutionize Offense

Bill Lazor
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

3. New OC Bill Lazor Will Revolutionize Offense

Bill Lazor
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Beyond inept blocking, the Dolphins were held back by former offensive coordinator Mike Sherman's lack of creativity. Whether it was repeatedly putting playmakers, like Mike Wallace, in the same spots or overseeing a transparent pre-snap jargon, Sherman didn't place the unit in the best position to succeed. Enter new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who is expected to bring with him from the Eagles elements of Chip Kelly's innovative spread.

2. Patriots' Decline Inevitable

Tom Brady
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

2. Patriots' Decline Inevitable

Tom Brady
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

All great runs come to an end eventually. The Patriots could easily remain a Super Bowl contender for two or three more seasons, but, despite the greatness of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, their roster has flaws. Also, Brady, while still one of the game's best quarterbacks, began showing glimpses of vulnerability last season -- something that should continue and intensify as he gets older. The Patriots' decline could begin sooner than you think.

1. Ryan Tannehill Will Break Out

Ryan Tannehill
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

1. Ryan Tannehill Will Break Out

Ryan Tannehill
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Tannehill is often left out when the talented passers of the 2012 draft class are discussed. That's about to change. He's made some big throws in big moments, but has yet to solidify himself as a consistent franchise quarterback. With improved protection and a more creative scheme, Tannehill will have the supporting cast he needs to begin living up to his high ceiling. When things begin clicking for him, the Dolphins will be contenders.


Around the Web