With Dolphins Win, AFC East Race Heats Up

Kris CardellaContributor INovember 3, 2008

After a 26-17 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday, there is one thing Miami Dolphin fans can agree on:

This is the biggest win for Miami in over five years.

The year was 2003, where the Dolphins finished the season 10-6 and missed the playoffs.  This was the last time the Dolphins were relevant.

Don't get me wrong.  There have been great wins for this team more recently.  

The Monday night comeback against the New England Patriots in 2004. But, the Dolphins finished 4-12.

Nick Saban's team in 2005 finished with six straight wins.  But, they started 3-7 and were playing for respect; there was little chance of a playoff appearance.

Then again in 2006, after a 1-6 start, the Dolphins handed the then undefeated Chicago Bears their first loss of the season.  The Dolphins finished 6-10.

One win last year to save the season.  Unfortunately, it was to save a 0-16 season.

Then yesterday, the Dolphins manage to pull out a win on the road against yet another division leader and are 4-4 heading into the second half of the season.  Wow.  I mean, who saw this coming?

Granted, Miami is still in last place in the AFC East.  The good news is that New England, Buffalo, and New York are all tied and sitting one game ahead of the Dolphins.  But wait, it gets better.

While the Patriots, Bills, and Jets beat up on each other the next two weeks, the Dolphins host the Seattle Seahawks and the Oakland Raiders; two of the worst teams in their respective conferences.

And both teams have to travel across the country.

Is it starting to sink in?

If the Dolphins can beat two teams they are very well capable of beating, they will stand at 6-4.  They would be, at worst, in a tie for second place in the division.  They would then face the Patriots at home in week 12, and with a win, could very well end up at the top of the AFC East.

This all reminds me of an interview the press did with Ernest Wilford at the beginning of training camp.  When asked what the expectations of the team were, he replied, "To win the division."

It may have put the media personnel in stitches then.  But here we are, at the halfway point of the 2008 season, and the Miami Dolphins are in the hunt and playing their best football in years.