Miami Dolphins Projected to Exceed Expectations in AFC East This Season

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The Miami Dolphins finished at the bottom of the AFC East last season, but that could all change in 2020.

In Dolphins head coach Brian Flores’ first year, the team struggled to a 5-11 record.

Key wins late in the year against the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots offered a glimmer of hope, but overall it was a tough season.

After a busy offseason, the Dolphins are now considered dark horses to win the AFC East in 2020, according to Pro Football Focus.

Miami added key defenders Byron Jones, Kyle Van Noy and Shaq Lawson in free agency. It also bolstered the running game with Jordan Howard and Matt Breida.

Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa – perhaps the Dolphins’ biggest acquisition of the offseason – might not even be a starter for Week 1. But PFF is still confident, whether it’s Tagovailoa or Ryan Fitzpatrick starting under center.

According to PFF’s projections, the Dolphins have a 19 percent chance to win the division. The Dolphins’ odds in Vegas are only at 13 percent.

The division is more wide open than ever after the Patriots – who have won 11 consecutive AFC East titles – lost Tom Brady in free agency.

The Patriots signed Cam Newton to replace Brady, but lost key defenders in Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Danny Shelton.

The Buffalo Bills return most of their team from last season that went 10-6 and earned a wild card berth, so that team should be a threat.

Lastly, the New York Jets continue to rebuild their offense under former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase. The Jets went 7-9 last season, but star safety Jamal Adams has requested a trade and could doom their season before it begins.

The AFC East is there for the taking, and the Dolphins are viable sleepers as they continue to improve.

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Logan is a recent graduate of Quinnipiac University who has written for and the Meriden Record-Journal. He also recently served as an editor for NBC Sports Group. A born and raised Boston sports fan, Logan is passionate about all things NFL and NBA. Follow him on Twitter @LoganReardon20.