We sling a lot of poop at the Miami Dolphins around these parts. And for good reason. They suck. They tend to stuff all our Sundays, loyalties, and hope into a cannon and fire it into an active volcano like Xenu.
But screw that. We're going to forge ahead and -- perhaps against all sense and reason -- say that the Dolphins are actually going to not only get into the playoffs this year but win their division. Why? Because things just might be lining up to do so. Also, because screw it. Mostly, because screw it.
See also: Are Ryan Tannehill's Toe-Thumbs to Blame For His Struggles?
Now, the odds are against any of this happening. Bovada has the Dolphins' chances of winning the division at +900. And history is clearly against them. But here are ten reasons we think they'll take the AFC East:
10. Because the Patriots Are Old and Injured Yes, Tom Brady is Tom Brady. But he's on the downside of his career and past his prime. Is he still dangerous? No question. Can he still win the AFC East all by himself? Absolutely. Does his wife have a horseface? Debatable. But here's the thing: Brady has always struggled against the Dolphins even when he was at his absolute best. And Miami has to bring the pain when the teams meet again in New England on December 14. It's going to be hard as balls, but it's doable.
Factor in them losing key guys like Stevan Ridley and Jarod Mayo to injuries as well as a defense that has allowed a crapton of first downs to opposing offenses and the window is wide open to reach in and take the division from the Pats once and for all.
Also, Bill Belichick lost a fight with a microphone.
9. Because the Defense Is Legitimately Dangerous The Dolphins defense, led by a ferocious pass rush, is pretty much the most dangerous squad in the NFL. Though they've given up a good amount of points, the Dolphins D has been denting enough ass to be ranked number one in total defense. They've caused turnovers and generally wreaked havoc in opposing quarterbacks' faces by sacking them 11 times so far this season. Covering the tight end is still an issue. And this team still fields Phillip Wheeler. But, in a league where a stout defense can get you far, the Dolphins boast the feistiest, nastiest, most cock-punchiest of them all.
8. Because the Offensive Line Has Been Stellar The days of the offensive line having Ryan Tannehill almost murdered are long gone, it would seem. What was once the biggest weakness for this team has suddenly become of its strengths (it took a first-year GM one offseason to fix what Jeff Ireland couldn't in five years).
Last season, Tannehill was sacked 58 times. Fifty-eight! And yet, he still lives.
But this year, the O-line has allowed only 14 sacks, and a good number of those were Tannehill holding onto the ball too long (something he seems to have fixed, maybe). And all this ass-crushing has been done with their best player out with an injury. Now with Mike Pouncey coming back fully healthy, the O-line will only get better. This means Tannehill will have more time to lock-in on one receiver without getting completely obliterated by an opposing linebacker. This game is won in what football analysts who love to make war metaphors with a game played once a week call "the trenches!"