The Miami Dolphins could go from worst to first in the AFC East, again

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The Miami Dolphins could go from worst to first in the AFC East, again.

Going from the worst team in a division to the best team in the division in one season isn’t as uncommon as you think. Could the Miami Dolphins do it in 2021?

In 2002 the National Football League realigned the divisions into their current format with 4 divisions in each conference. Since that time a team has gone from worst in their division one season to first in their division the next season in 15 of 17 seasons. In 8 of those seasons at least two teams accomplished the feat. In 2005 and 2006 three different teams were able to go from worst to first in their division.

2003 – Panthers 7-9 to 11-5           2010 – Chiefs 4-12 to 10-6

2003 – Chiefs 8-8 tp 13-3                2011 – Broncos 4-12 to 8-8

2004 – Falcons 5-11 to 11-5           2011 – Texans 6-10 to 10-6

2004 – Chargers 4-12 to 12 -4        2012 – Washington 5-11 to 10-6

2005 – Bucs 5-11 to 11-5                 2013 – Panthers 7-9 to 12-4

2005 – Giants 6-10 to 11-5              2013 – Eagles 4-12 to 10-6

2005 – Bears 5-11 to 11-5               2015 – Washington 4-12 to 9-7

2006 – Ravens 6-10 to 13-3            2016 – Cowboys 4-12 to 13-3

2006 – Saints 3-13 to 10-6              2017 – Jaguars 3-13 to 10-6

2006 – Eagles 6-10 to 10-6             2017 – Eagles 7-9 to 13-3 *

2007 – Bucs 4-12 to 9-7                   2018 – Texans 4-12 to 11-5

2008 – Dolphins 1-15 to 11-5         2018 – Bears 5-11 to 12-4

2009 – Saints 8-8 to 13-3 *

* = Won Super Bowl

So statistically speaking, there’s a good chance someone will go do it again in the 2020-21 season, and it’s my belief that the Miami Dolphins have the best shot at making that happen. Here’s how I rank last year’s losers in regard to pulling off the worst to first accomplishment this season.

8th – AFC West – Los Angeles Chargers (5-11) – The Los Angeles Chargers parted ways with 15-year veteran quarterback Phillip Rivers. Rivers has been a model of consistency since taking over the quarterback position from Drew Brees in 2006. Rivers never missed a game for the Chargers starting all 16 games from 2006 to 2019. Unfortunately for Rivers, father time is still undefeated. While still a quality starter in the league the Chargers were in a position to draft a franchise quarterback in this year’s draft and did so by selecting Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. Herbert’s only real competition on the roster is NFL journeyman Tyrod Taylor. The NFL knows what Tyrod Taylor is so it seems more likely than not that Justin Herbert will be the Chargers quarterback for the bulk, if not all of the season. Rookie quarterbacks don’t tend to light the league up so I look for the Chargers to be once again staring up at the Chiefs, Broncos, and Raiders this season.

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