Under the guidance of first-year head coach Tony Sparano and free agent pick-up Chad Pennington, the Miami Dolphins went from a 1-15 laughing stock in 2007 to the AFC East champions in 2008. If they want to remain as the top team in the division in 2009, they're going to have quite a challenge, as they are projected to have the league's toughest schedule.
Not only does Miami have to play six its six divisional games (two each against New England, New York Jets and Buffalo), but the AFC East has drawn the difficult talk of being matched up against the AFC South and the NFC South, neither of which had a losing team in 2008.
Miami's two remaining games will be against the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as the AFC West champion San Diego Chargers.
However, if you're a Dolphins fan and looking for some reasons for optimism, you should keep in mind that the Steelers entered this season with the toughest schedule in the NFL and finished the regular season 12-4, while defeating the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. Also, like the Steelers, the Dolphins were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs the previous season.
See how it's all coming together for Miami?
Naturally, we can probably just pencil in the Dolphins for the Super Bowl in 2009, which, by the way, is being held in Miami.