From this writer's perspective, the Miami Dolphins should have every chance to repeat as AFC East champs.
They should at least earn a wild card playoff berth, with a 10-6 or even 11-5 in 2010.
Things that need to happen to qualify for the postseason is what follows.
Second round draft pick Pat White must make an immediate impact.
No. 6 can revolutionize NFL offenses by adding a new dimension to the wildcat formation. Last season, the 'Phins were not a threat to throw out of this set. Now, the sky is the limit. Opposing defensive coaches will be putting in overtime to prepare.
The revamped offensive line must clear holes in the base offense for tailbacks Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams to run through.
Defensively, linebacker Joey Porter needs support rushing the passer, which reacquired Jason Taylor should provide. Additionally, secondary must eliminate the big play. Miami's top two draft choices, cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Sean Hill will help see to that along with CFL standout Cameron Wake.
The offseason begins all too early if injuries mount up for key players.
Last season, two offensive linemen and receiver Greg Camarillo were lost to season ending blows, forcing the team to alter strategy. Quarterback Chad Pennington must also stay healthy for consecutive seasons. Understudy, Chad Henne may not be ready just yet to perform under pressure.
Finally, if special teams does not improve, expect to see Miami struggle. Last season's unit improved over its predecessors, but penalties cancelled out a few big plays on returns. The coverage on opposing teams' returns also has to tighten up.
The daunting schedule they face proves to be just as tough as it looks on paper.
The Steelers, however, had the toughest schedule in 2008-09.