Parity has created a revolving door of division champions during the past decade or so. Teams have been able to go from bottom feeder to the top in just a season with just a few strategic moves in free agency and the draft.
But in the AFC East, the Dolphins — and the Jets and Bills, of course — are constantly positioning themselves to catch the Patriots. New England is the league’s gold standard of consistency, reeling off 10 of the last 11 division titles and always a threat to make it the Super Bowl.
Sustaining a season-long run is the ultimate goal, but that means knocking off New England. A momentous offseason, both in Miami and New England, could, perhaps, be a precursor for a shift. The Dolphins, looking to get younger and more explosive, added some offensive weapons, including Mike Wallace and Dustin Keller, while also flipping out Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett for a pair of blitzers in Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler.
Ellerbe helped Baltimore get past New England in last year’s AFC Championship Game, picking off Tom Brady in the second half, and he recently spoke to CBS Sports’ Mike Freeman about where the Dolphins stand in the AFC East.
“I was brought here to help knock them off,” Ellerbe said. “That doesn’t mean we will, but we feel like we can. Like I said, we just have to prove it. You have to actually go do it.”
If New England is going to win another division title, it will do so with a revamped offense around Brady, who is entering his 13th season. Wes Welker bolted for Denver in free agency, Rob Gronkowski is dealing with several health issues, including a a bad back, and Aaron Hernandez is facing a murder trial.
The Dolphins and Patriots will meet on Oct. 27 and Dec. 15.
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