There’s a certain amount of relief to be had from the AFC South being on the cusp of a championship, and if the Dolphins can find a way to take down the San Diego Chargers and the Baltimore Ravens in the final two weeks, they’ll be in a much better position to reach that goal.
Miami was 9-6 in the regular season, but that only happened if you included the wild-card games that didn’t count because they happened after the divisional round.
That’s where things get a little tricky, and it’s why the Dolphins should be concerned about winning the AFC West this weekend.
But the Dolphins have other plans, too, and they’re a good bet to win both the division and the Super Bowl.
Here’s what you need to know: 1.
The Dolphins have the best defense in the AFC.
Since the start of the season, the Dolphins’ defense has been among the league’s best, but their biggest strength has been in the secondary.
They have a solid pair of safeties in Marcus Cooper and Brandon Marshall, and two of the league-best linebackers in Ndamukong Suh and Earl Mitchell.
The safeties also have two of AFC’s best cornerbacks in Vontae Davis and Antonio Cromartie.
And their secondary has been playing well lately, especially since they brought in safety Laremy Tunsil, who has made a huge difference for the Dolphins, especially against the run.
The defense has allowed just 16 points per game, which is sixth-best in the league.
The Chargers are a big-play team.
Since their bye week, the Chargers have scored a league-high 14 touchdowns, which ranks third in the NFL.
In fact, they have now scored touchdowns in six straight games, the longest active streak in the history of the NFL, and are now averaging 18.7 points per contest.
It’s hard to argue that the Chargers haven’t had a great season.
They’re the best team in the NFC West and have had a lot of success playing in San Diego, which gives them a big advantage in the division, too.
That means they have to go against the best teams in the conference to win.
But they have the talent to get it done.
Philip Rivers is the best quarterback in the game.
Since being traded to the Chargers in March, Philip Rivers has completed 58.9 percent of his passes, averaging 3,957 yards and 29 touchdowns.
That includes two seasons in which he threw for over 1,000 yards.
Rivers has thrown for at least 3,000 passing yards in five straight games.
They are a solid running team.
They rank fourth in the entire league in rushing yards per game at 4.5 yards per carry, which means they’re good against the pass and can run the ball.
They also rank fourth overall in the field goal percentage, making them one of the top three teams in that department.
They’ve improved their defense, too: The Chargers have been one of several teams in recent years to come back from an early deficit and turn it around, including the Patriots and the Broncos in 2015.
But in the last two years, the defense has played a much bigger role in the team’s success, too — as well as the Chargers’ success.
Their defense allowed just 26 points per week during the 2015 regular season and allowed just 29 points per outing in the Super 16.
In 2016, they allowed just 23 points per season and they were second in the nation in yards allowed per game allowed, averaging 6.75 yards per play.
They don’t need a ton of help from their running game.
The only way they would be a good chance to win this division is if they can get some help from the passing game.
They lead the NFL in rushing offense and are averaging over 10 yards per rush, which puts them in the top five in the NBA.
They can play a lot on the road.
The 49ers, Giants, Eagles and Patriots are all playing at home this weekend, but the Dolphins aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
They play eight of their next nine games in the home venue.
They won’t be able to go anywhere, though, without a win at home.
The last time they played a home game was in 2013, when they beat the Falcons in Atlanta.
Miami is the only team to win four straight home games against the NFC East champion New York Giants, Patriots, Eagles, Falcons and Rams.
That was in 2014.