One win or one loss could decide Miami Dolphins fate in the AFC East in 2023

May 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel before game three of the
May 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel before game three of the / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins will face their toughest challenges in the 2023 NFL season when they play the other AFC East teams where one win or one loss could be the difference in the season.

As Miami Dolphins fans, we only care about Miami when AFC East discussions start to rear their ugly heads but this is just as easily relevant to the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills fanbases as well. Not so much for Patriots fans.

If the Patriots are contending for a post-season birth or a division title in 2023 then everything went right for Bill Belichick and everything went wrong for everyone else. That is not being mean to the Patriots believe it or not but it is a fact.

The East is going to be good in 2023, or at least it should be. Last year the hype surrounded the AFC West but by mid-season, it was the Chiefs running away while the Chargers were holding on. Could that repeat in 2023 in the East? Absolutely but on paper, this is a three-team race where one win could be the difference in winning the division and one loss could mean missing the playoffs.

If we are being honest with ourselves, expectations are that the Bills and Dolphins will challenge for the title while the Jets are now expected to rise as well. For many the questions about who wins the division are more about what Aaron Rodgers will do in NY rather than what Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa can or will do for their teams.

Regardless, we have to believe that the Jets will be much better and this is where the one win/one loss situation comes in because the key here is simple. Don't lose a division game.

For New England, beating one of the other AFC East teams could inevitably throw off the division tie-breakers, especially if the Jets, Dolphins, and Bills all finish with equal head-to-head records. This year more than any previously, the AFC East could come down to which team is able to sweep the other, or others.

The two teams that don't win the division will be facing Wild Card elimination and will have to hope they have enough wins to get into the playoffs without having to win a tie-breaker scenario. That is where the one-loss comes in because this year, one extra loss could be the end of the road late in the year.

In 2023, the AFC East will be pitted against the AFC West. That is important because it is very likely that the other Wild Card team could come from the West making these games that much more important. In fact, as it pertains to a Wild Card birth, these head-to-head outcomes could decide who gets in and who does not.

Following that, you have to look at the AFC North opponents and see that pathway to the playoffs as well. Miami will play the Ravens, the Bills will play the Bengals, and the Jets will play the Browns. All three of those North teams will be vying for a division title as well as hoping for a Wild Card as well, again bringing a potential head to head tie-breaking scenario into play.

Overall, this season is going to be insanely unforgiving for one of the three contenders in the AFC East as one of them is not likely to make the playoffs and it very well could come down to one singular bad game making each of the 17 from start to finish critical. Should a team get on a losing streak of even two games in a row, they could be too far out to have a shot back in.

Yes, it is a bit melodramatic but it does highlight just how tight this season is going to be for the East and the Miami Dolphins who have the talent to take the division if not the conference but again, one loss could change it all just as easily as one win could put them in position to win it all.