The Miami Dolphins 2018 schedule is out and well, it’s not brutal.
It’s mathematically easier than last season’s schedule. The NFL sets it up that way, so 6-10 teams have a better chance to bounce back.
And well, only four of their games are against teams that finished with 10 or more wins last season (New England twice, Minnesota and Jacksonville).
Here are 5 Instant Takeaways from the release of the all-important schedule:
- Miami might want to start fast, because the back end is a bear. Miami opens at home with Tennessee before traveling to the Jets and hosting Oakland. These are three winnable games. And anything less than 2-1 is unacceptable. If Miami is say, 8-4, and in need of two wins to make the playoffs (hey, it’s April) finding those wins down the stretch will be difficult. Patriots, at Vikings, Jaguars, at Bills, is rough.
- Some of Miami’s opponents who struggled last season should be better, because key players return. The Texans get Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt back, the Packers get Aaron Rodgers back and the Colts should get Andrew Luck back. All those teams struggled without their top players. Come to think of it, didn’t Miami struggle without Ryan Tannehill (and Raekwon McMillan)?
- While playing at Buffalo at the very end of December is not ideal, Miami’s cold weather situation could be worse. Miami catches a break by playing at New York and at New England in September. Miami also plays at Cincinnati in early October. Perhaps the Dolphins will find unseasonably warm weather at Green Bay on Nov. 11. A Week 10 venture to the frozen tundra isn’t all that bad. And back-end of the schedule games at Indianapolis and Minnesota my be a big chilly for travelers, but at least those games are in domes.
- Miami’s only nationally televised game is at Houston on a Thursday night. Frankly, Miami didn’t deserve a national audience after the eggs they laid on such stages last season. It is true that Miami defeated New England on a Monday night in December last season. Remember Jarvis Landry’s simulated football deflation? Ah, memories. But we shall also not forget humiliating losses to the Saints, Ravens and Panthers and another loss to the Raiders, all before a national audience.
- The Dolphins’ bye is well-placed, in Week 11. Unless of course, a hurricane hits and postpones Miami’s home opener against the Titans. But that won’t happen because I’ve brought it up. So, now that that’s out of the way. Overall, this schedule is pretty fair. Two home games and two road games in each of the four quarters of the season. Three winning opponents in the first half (allowing for perhaps a decent start) and five winning opponents in the second half. Miami has a chance to be in the playoff race entering December. All involved would sign up for that.