2018 Miami Dolphins schedule: What requests did they make?

Just a normal day in Green Bay. (Getty Images)

All teams are welcome to submit scheduling requests to the NFL before it finalizes its plan for the season, but it’s unpredictable whether any of those can be accommodated. Mapping out 256 games in 32 cities (plus international games) is difficult enough without taking into account any potential conflicts with baseball or other events, let alone team preferences.

Understanding that, the Dolphins generally try to ask for as few considerations as possible, saving their requests for when they’re really necessary.

“Competitive factors come in first,” team president Tom Garfinkel said. “You want to have a bye week in the middle of the season. You want the games equal so you don’t have to play all your games in the snow in December and you don’t to miss out on the chance to play at home in September.

“If it’s an equal distribution and a fair schedule, you just go play the games.”

With that in mind, here are some notes on the Dolphins’ 2018 schedule, which will be released in two weeks:

–They’ve asked for a few years to open at home, something they haven’t done since 2014. Miami has started out on the road five times in the last six years.

The Dolphins were supposed to open at Hard Rock Stadium last season, but the game was postponed to November because of Hurricane Irma.

–The Dolphins asked that their Week 17 game, the final one of the season, be played on the road. That week is designated for divisional games, meaning Miami could play a significant AFC East road game in cold weather to close the year.

The reason for they asked for that is because the Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium is a college football national semifinal Dec. 29. Last year, the Dolphins hosted the Orange Bowl on a Saturday night and the Buffalo Bills the next afternoon, which put some constraints on them.

“With a college football semifinal, you don’t want back-to-back games at 8 o’clock at night and one the next day,” Garfinkel said. “Those are the situations you try to save the big requests for.”

–Miami doesn’t have any away games west of the Central Time Zone, so there was no need for the organization to ask for any grouping on its road schedule. In the past, the Dolphins have tried to pair West Coast trips together in consecutive weeks so they could stay out west in between games.

–The Dolphins didn’t make any specific requests on their potential cold weather games. In addition to the annual visits to New England, Buffalo and the Jets, Miami will play outdoor games at Cincinnati and, most importantly, Green Bay. Garfinkel said the team didn’t ask for anything as it pertains to the timing of the Packers game.

This will be the seventh game the Dolphins have played at Lambeau Field, and the only times they’ve gone there late in the season were November 2002 (30 degrees) and December 1985 (18 degrees).

The non-division road schedule also includes dome games at Houston, Indianapolis and Minnesota.

–No matter how the schedule plays out, it can’t be tougher than last year. The 2017 season began with the displaced Dolphins opening in Los Angeles, then playing in New York and London the following two weeks.

“A lot of challenging things took place starting with the hurricane,” Garfinkel said. “We’re just looking forward to, hopefully, just having a normal season. No trips over the Atlantic. No big West Coast trips. Hopefully no hurricanes.”

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