NFL Writer Predicts Miami Dolphins Will Thrive Against AFC East Opponents This Season

Ryan Fitzpatrick and Kyle Van Noy Winslow Townson / USA TODAY Sports

The AFC East has been run by the New England Patriots since 2001, but that could all change in 2020.

In the past 18 seasons, the Patriots have won the division 16 times, with the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets each winning just once.

But former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is now a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, and the division is suddenly wide open.

In a question posed to Dolphins beat reporter Safid Deen, a Sun Sentinel reader asked Deen what he expected the Dolphins’ record in the division to be this season.

To the delight of Miami fans, Deen is optimistic about its chances.

“For a prediction sake and to answer the question, I’ll say the Dolphins could go 4-2 in the division this season,” Deen wrote. “I think the Dolphins have the potential to beat the Bills and Jets at least once, and the Patriots twice this season.”

This would qualify as the best case scenario for the Dolphins. They have finished 4-2 in the AFC East just five times in the last 18 years, and finished worse than that in the other 13.

But if it’s going to happen, 2020 might be the year.

The Patriots will be adjusting to life without Brady. Jarrett Stidham, 23, is expected to start at quarterback after throwing just four passes as a rookie last season.

In Buffalo, the Bills are the most likely to take the division after making the playoffs last season. Buffalo still hasn’t won a playoff game since 1995, but it nearly did last season and should be right there again in 2020.

Lastly, the Jets are still rebuilding their offensive line trying to protect Sam Darnold. They haven’t finished above .500 since 2015, when current Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was under center.

The Dolphins might not be the favorite to win the AFC East in 2020, but it would be unwise to count them out. This division is clearly there for the taking.