Now look at the Dolphins. They're in a three-way tie with the New York Jets and New England Patriots for the AFC East lead. The Dolphins control their own destiny and meet the Jets in the Dec. 28 season finale at the Meadowlands.
With Sunday's victory over the Buffalo Bills in the Rogers Centre, the Dolphins are 8-5 -- already giving them a plus-7 win differential from last year, when they became one of only eight teams to finish 1-15 since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978.
The Dolphins have three more opportunities to match and surpass the 1997 Jets and 1992 Indianapolis Colts, who pulled off plus-8 improvements. Thanks to ESPN researcher Russell Baxter for passing along the information for the chart.
No 1-15 club has reached the playoffs the following season.
The NFL record for the biggest win differential from one season belongs to the 1999 Colts, who won 13 games a year after they won three.