Five Reasons the Miami Dolphins Will Make the Playoffs Again This Season

This season hasn't exactly had a fairy-tale beginning for the Miami Dolphins. After losing starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a knee injury before the preseason, the team had to skip its first game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while Hurricane Irma lashed their hometowns.

But Sunday's opening game showed why many fans still believe the Fins have a chance to build on the momentum of last season's playoff appearance and move into the top tier of AFC teams. When the Dolphins eked out a 19-17 win against the Chargers, the victory only added to the positivity surrounding this team.

Here are some of the reasons the Dolphins are a popular pick to make some noise in the NFL this season.
1. The AFC East is abysmal. The schedule matters. Though the Dolphins have what appears to be a difficult slate of games beyond the six mandatory AFC East matchups, four of those division games are as easy as they come. The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets might have the two worst rosters in the NFL. Both teams are clearly rebuilding. Neither is expected to win six games, much less make the playoffs.

The Dolphins get to play the NFL equivalent of the Brooklyn Nets for 25 percent of their schedule. If that's not an advantage, we don't know what is. Unfortunately, they also have to play the New England Patriots — the Golden State Warriors of the NFL — twice. Overall, that seems like a fair trade-off, though.
2. The Dolphins' wide receivers are great. When was the last time you could say the Dolphins had explosive weapons on offense? Ten years ago? Longer? This season, they have just that and then some. Not only is DeVante Parker a superstar in the making on the verge of a breakout season, but between Kenny Stills' deep-threat abilities and Jarvis Landry's midrange slot expertise, the Dolphins' wideouts perfectly complement one another.

Add in preseason explosiveness of return man and gadget weapon Jakeem Grant, and the Dolphins have an embarrassment of riches at the wide receiver spot. There's little duplication of talents within this group of wideouts, which makes them very unpredictable.