Miami Dolphins season preview: Back to the playoffs

Around The NFL's season preview goes to the AFC East.

Change is a good thing

AFC East, meet Ndamukong Suh. The Dolphins went all in this offseason, signing the former Detroit Lions star to the biggest contract ever given to a defensive player. Suh is a generational gameplan-destroyer, and there is vast potential for a defensive line that pairs Suh with sackmaster Cameron Wake.

The Dolphins also retooled their offense, sending the overpaid and underachieving Mike Wallace out of town while importing former Browns tight end Jordan Cameron, who is destined for a Pro Bowl season under the God Hates Cleveland theory.

This isn't a change, just more of a reminder: Fergie is a part owner of the team.

Yeah, but what about ...

Wait, Joe Philbin is still here? Three playoff-free seasons with no pedigree of success almost always welcomes a head-coach dismissal, but Fergie and Co. are keeping the faith in ol' Joe.

The Dolphins gave Ryan Tannehill a fat extension in the offseason, but his supporting cast doesn't knock you over. Lamar Miller might find it difficult to top his surprisingly successful 2014 season, and Kenny Stills -- imported to replace Wallace as the team's deep threat -- has lost ground this summer to Rishard Matthews, a man who's spent half his career in Philbin's doghouse. And while we're high on Cameron, his history of concussions cannot be ignored.

One guy to watch

Jarvis Landry could be a security blanket for Tannehill, leading to more targets and touchdowns for the third-year wide receiver. Landry has been a favorite option in the preseason, and had five catches for 84 yards on six targets in Miami's preseason matchup against the Falcons. That type of production could become the norm of Landry, creating the distinct possibility of a breakout season.

What we'll be seeing in February

Here's a franchise on the upswing. The Dolphins will return to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. They haven't surpassed the Patriots yet, but they're closing ground. Finally.

Predicted finish: No. 2 in AFC East, No. 6 in the AFC, No. 10 overall in Around the NFL's Power Poll

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