Since the turn of the millennium, the Miami Dolphins have won the AFC East twice — in 2000 and 2008.
If you’re keeping tabs at home, in that same period, the New England Patriots won the East 17 times, the Jets once (2002) and the Bills twice, both coming the past two seasons.
Currently, every team in the division is above .500, but the Dolphins have the inside track.
At 8-3, they are tied with the Bills, owning a 21-19 victory over Buffalo earlier this season. However, the Dolphins and Buffalo are set for what could be a snowy showdown Dec. 18.
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The Dolphins lost a 40-17 conference stinker to the New York Jets (7-4) on Oct. 9, but it was a game where quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was out with a concussion. They will play Jan. 8 to close out the regular season in a game that could have big playoff implications.
The Dolphins also own a season-opening win against the Patriots (6-5) in Miami, with a rematch coming in New England on New Year’s Day.
Yes, the Dolphins currently have the inside track, but with three big division games remaining, it’s still anybody’s to win.
It makes you wonder what happens if Tua wasn’t injured late against the Bills, then had to play just four days later on a Thursday against Cincinnati, the day he was concussed.
All three Dolphins losses came successively, the first against the Bengals when Tua was injured, and the next two games, against the Jets and Vikings.
Since his return, the Dolphins are riding a five-game winning streak. Tua has 11 touchdown passes in that stretch and he hasn't thrown an interception in four consecutive games.
Can they keep it going with two successive West Coast trips, the first this weekend against the imposing San Francisco 49ers, and next week against the high-flying Los Angeles Chargers?
To help me break all this down, I welcome back Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post as the latest guest on “The *State* of Florida Sports podcast.
Joe is in his seventh year covering the Dolphins for the Post, and he will help me break down the final six games of the season, including those three big division games in three out of the last four weeks of the regular season.
Joe will also talk about the importance of Tua as the country is finally figuring out just how good he can be.
And Joe talks about the job coach Mike McDaniel has done, and what to expect when he faces his former team in the 49ers this weekend.
"They know each other well and they know each other's tricks," Schad says. "The 49ers' offensive scheme will pose a challenge. I guess one good thing is that Kyle Shanahan runs a scheme that's quite similar to what Mike McDaniel operates. So the Dolphins have certainly practiced against this type of scheme all offseason."
If you’re a fan of the Dolphins, the AFC East, the NFL or football in general, you have to give this podcast a listen.
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This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Joe Schad talks Miami Dolphins playoff chances on state podcast