The Dolphins have known their opponents for the upcoming season for months, leaving only the question of when those games would take place.
Timing and sequence matter quite a bit in NFL scheduling. Miami would much rather make road trips to northern venues before winter hits, and teams visiting from those climates often struggle with the heat and humidity in South Florida.
You can view what the team requested this year by clicking here.
Now that everything is settled and the Dolphins know the exact path they must navigate in their quest to get back to the playoffs, here’s a game-by-game look at their 2018 schedule:
Week 1: Sun., Sept. 9, 1 p.m. vs. Tennessee Titans
If all goes according to plan and this isn’t wrecked by a hurricane like last season, the Dolphins will open at home for the first time since 2014 and just the second time in the last seven years. This is a very difficult opener for a Miami team with a retooled lineup that might need time to find its way.
Week 2: Sun., Sept. 16, 1 p.m. at New York Jets
For the second consecutive year, the Dolphins get a reasonably warm trip to New York. Last season’s stop at MetLife Stadium was a nightmare for Miami, which limped out with a 20-6 loss against a squad assumed to be tanking. The Jets ended up 5-11, one game behind the Dolphins, and the two teams look like they’re on equal footing this year.
Week 3: Sun., Sept. 23, 1 p.m. vs. Oakland Raiders
One great thing for the Dolphins in this year’s schedule: They don’t make a single trip to the West Coast. For the second straight season, they get the advantage of hosting a Raiders team making a cross-country journey. It will be Jon Gruden’s first time coaching against Miami since 2005.
Week 4: Sun., Sept. 30, 1 p.m. at New England Patriots
The AFC East schedule turned out pretty well for the Dolphins. Two of their stops are in September, when the weather can’t possibly be that bad, and the other is one they basically requested. Still, there’s never an easy time to play at New England. Miami hasn’t won there in a decade.
Week 5: Sun., Oct. 7, 1 p.m. at Cincinnati Bengals
This promises to be a nondescript game in every way. The Bengals and Dolphins are both mired in mediocrity, and they produced some forgettable football when they met in Cincinnati on a rainy night two years ago.
Week 6: Sun., Oct. 14, 1 p.m. vs. Chicago Bears
Dolphins coach Adam Gase hasn’t faced Chicago since working as the offensive coordinator there in 2015. The Bears are working with a new head coach and a young starting quarterback, but could prove to be a challenging upstart. This is a game Miami has to win if it has any thought of being competitive this year.
Week 7: Sun., Oct. 21, 1 p.m. vs. Detroit Lions
This sets up as one of the more manageable games on the Dolphins’ schedule. Detroit’s a dome team coming off 9-7 season and could run into some scorching, swampy weather in South Florida. It’s another game with history for Gase, who got his start in the NFL with the Lions in 2003 and has a longtime rivalry with coach Matt Patricia.
Week 8: Thu., Oct. 25, 8:20 p.m. at Houston Texans
After some dreadful performances on national television last year, the Dolphins are scheduled for one primetime game this year. Unfortunately for them, it’s a visit to an up-and-coming Texans team on a short turnaround. Assuming DeShaun Watson is healthy and playing like he was last season, this will be a rough one.
Week 9: Sun., Nov. 4, 1 p.m. vs. New York Jets
Even when they’re bad, the Jets are tricky for the Dolphins. That said, Miami has beaten them twice in a row in South Florida and should be able to make it three straight this year. New York doesn’t have a quarterback, and its defense isn’t great either. This is another one the Dolphins can’t afford to throw away.
Week 10: Sun., Nov. 11, 1 p.m. at Green Bay Packers
The Dolphins rarely make it to Lambeau Field. This will be their seventh appearance there in franchise history and first since winning 23-20 in 2010. They’re 4-2 all-time in that stadium. It would’ve favored Miami to play this game as early in the season as possible given how brutal conditions can be in Green Bay late in the season.
Week 11: Bye
The Dolphins always want their bye week near the middle of the season, but this year they’re probably happy simply to have one at all. Last season, the team declined an option to have its bye after the game against the Saints in London and originally had it slated for mid-year. That fell apart when Hurricane Irma wiped out the opener against Tampa Bay and the NFL rescheduled it for their mutual bye week.
Week 12: Sun., Nov. 25, 1 p.m. at Indianapolis Colts
A rare supposedly easy road game. Heading north is always less daunting for the Dolphins when they’re playing indoors, and they’ll be taking on one of the few teams that had a worse point differential than them last year. The Colts are betting big on a strong return by Andrew Luck. Otherwise, they’ll be at the bottom of the league again.
Week 13: Sun., Dec. 2, 1 p.m. vs. Buffalo Bills
The Bills are a mystery team this season. They went 9-7, including a sweep of the Dolphins, to make the playoffs last year, then made serious moves in the offseason. They’ll have a new quarterback after shipping Tyrod Taylor, always a problematic matchup for Miami, to Cleveland and rebooting with A.J. McCarron and possibly newcomer from this year’s loaded draft class.
Week 14: Sun., Dec. 9, 1 p.m. vs. New England Patriots
The Patriots came down to Hard Rock Stadium this time last year and were dealt a stunner as Miami played its best game of the season. If the Dolphins can get this series to a point where New England feels trepidation about going on the road against them, that’s a big step for this franchise.
Week 15: Sun., Dec. 16, 1 p.m. at Minnesota Vikings
Green Bay and New England are tough, but this might prove to be the Dolphins’ hardest game of the year. Minnesota was one game shy of reaching the Super Bowl last year and goes in as one of the favorites to win the NFC this season now that Kirk Cousins is on board. The Vikings have a realistic goal of going undefeated at home, and Miami’s going to be a massive underdog.
Week 16: Sun., TBD vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
This is one of four games the Dolphins play against teams that were in the conference championship round last year (two against New England, one at Minnesota). The Jaguars are out to prove last season wasn’t a fluke and they go into the upcoming season looking well ahead of Miami.
Week 17: Sun., Dec. 30, 1 p.m. at Buffalo Bills
The Dolphins asked to close the season on the road because they’re hosting a college football national semifinal with the Orange Bowl the day before, and the NFL obliged by sending them to Buffalo. Last year, the Bills and Dolphins ended the year against each other in South Florida, with Buffalo winning and earning a playoff berth.
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