The AFC East, for the last couple of decades, has been owned by the New England Patriots. Three weeks into the 2018 season the Miami Dolphins are sitting atop the division with a 3-0 record. Yes, those Miami Dolphins. They already have a 2 game lead on the Patriots, who have struggled early on this season. This is why we should never assume we know everything about football. In all its’ wondrous glory, anything can happen on any given day; in any given year.
The Dolphins haven’t faced a top team yet, but I don’t think anyone predicted this start. They have beat the Tennessee Titans (27-20), the New York Jets (20-12), and the Oakland Raiders (28-20). All 3 wins are by at least a touchdown, so you can’t say it’s luck either. They have done this by playing solid fundamental football. They’re winning the turnover margin handily and simply playing solid defense.
Ryan Tannehill is off to a very good start. He is averaging 208 yards per game with 7 TDs and only 2 interceptions. Not flashy, but efficient. Kenny Stills (9-184-3), Albert Wilson (8-142-2), and Jakeem Grant (9-135-2) have all been beneficiaries of Tannehill’s disciplined passing. With Kenyan Drake (34.7 YPG) and future HOFer Frank Gore (32.7 YPG) bolstering the running game, you have an offense that can move the ball up and down the field.
The defense is averaging 2 sacks per game and currently has 11 TFL. They also have 7 interceptions, including 3 by Xavien Howard. They’re playing aggressive and the results are providing winning football for the Miami fans. How long can they keep it up? I guess we’ll see that over the next couple of weeks. They have the Patriots next week. The New England Patriots have struggled out of the gate. They look out of sync and uninspired. They have 6 days to get it together. The Dolphins will be ready for them.
The week after that they face the Cincinnati Bengals. Both the Pats game and the Bengals game will be on the road. This will be a good test for the Dolphins. New England is in a rare must-win situation, while the Bengals are their usual Jeckyll and Hyde selves. If they win both of these, they come back home to face the Chicago Bears and Khalil Mack. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves now. One game at a time, New England Patriots on the horizon.
Whatever happens over the next few weeks, the buzz in Miami has to be exciting. The rest of the NFL is probably relieved to see a new face at the top of the AFC East. At least for now. Any time a team emerges from the depths of mediocrity, even if it’s a short run, it’s a plus for the league in general. So let’s ride this Dolphins wave out and see how far they take us. Unless, of course, you’re a fan of one of the other teams in the East.