- Rivers McCown, Football Outsiders
At 8-6, tied with the Baltimore Ravens for the last AFC wild-card spot, the Miami Dolphins have a chance to ascend to the postseason for the first time since 2008. While they've been helped by the general listlessness of the AFC, in so much as no team has really staked a claim to that last wild-card berth, the Dolphins deserve credit for successfully navigating their way out of the bullying and hazing quagmire that left them without their starting left tackle and left guard.
Making lemonade out of the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin mess wasn't simple, but a trade and a key undrafted free agent have helped the Dolphins stabilize their offensive line. From Week 1 to Week 8, the Dolphins had just one game with a positive offensive DVOA. (DVOA is Football Outsiders' defense-adjusted value over average metric, explained here.) Since then, they've been above average in five of their last seven games, and their improved line is helping to fuel that surge.
The Dolphins are surging, and they have a once-maligned unit to thank for a late-season push that has Miami thinking playoffs.