2018 Miami Dolphins Schedule: 5 Things You Need To Know

Cameron Wake and Tom Brady will see each other in Week 4. (Allen Eyestone / Palm Beach Post)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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)?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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3 Concerning Miami Dolphins position groups vs. Oakland Raiders

New York Jets wide receiver Jermaine Kearse catches a touchdown pass as Miami Dolphins cornerback Cordrea Tankersley attempts to defend. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Every game in the NFL can be a pivotal one, but for the Miami Dolphins, the difference between 5-3 at the halfway point and 4-4 seems significant for playoff chances.

It’s also pivotal for the emotional state of the team.

Things seemed cheerier in Miami’s locker room last season, even at 1-4, then they did this week, at 4-3.

As one player solemnly said, when this was noted, not only did the Dolphins get smashed 40-0 in Baltimore last Thursday, but, “We lost Jay.”

Jay is Jay Ajayi, who sometimes gave the coaches headaches, bit did the same to opponents, too.

But running back is not even one of Miami’s top concerns against the Raiders tonight.

Here those are:


Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake said this week that if the opponent connects on a 70-yard pass play, blame the defensive line, not the corners. Wake’s point is that no player could blanket an NFL receiver for as long as that play takes and the pressure is on the well-paid line to create enough pressure to make that play impossible. It’s a great approach and Wake is a great teammate. But rookie Cordrea Tankersley and second-year corner Xavien Howard have to do a solid job, especially against Amari Cooper of Miami Northwestern Senior High School. Cooper, who mentioned watching former Dolphin Chris Chambers as a kid this week, has three touchdowns, including a 45-yarder. Last month, Cooper had 11 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns against the Chiefs. The goal tonight: Hold Cooper under 100.


Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler will try to limit big hits taken as the takes the field with two broken ribs. The Raiders actually haven’t recorded too many sacks, only 12, which ties for 28th in the league. Of course, we’ve seen teams with few sacks create their share of pressures against Miami’s underachieving offensive line. The Raiders defense has also created only five turnovers this season, which is 30th in the league. So it’s not like the Raiders are the 1985 Chicago Bears. In fact, the Raiders are without three cornerbacks tonight, which should create plenty of opportunities for Cutler (he should target DeVante Parker early and often) depending on how well he’s feeling. “We sure don’t need Khalil Mack coming clean or anything on *Cutler),” offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said.


Michael Thomas did a nice job in relief of an injured Nate Allen last week and there’s not a ton of reason to think that is a drop-off of significance. But there is added pressure on the safeties this week because 1) Derek Carr has two excellent receiving weapons in Cooper and Michael Crabtree and 2) Tight end Jared Cook is dangerous, and the Dolphins have long struggled against athletic, pass-catching tight ends. Reshad Jones has been better against the run than against the pass, according to Pro Football Focus. The Dolphins need strong communication (a problem at times this season) in the back tonight, especially in the red zone. The Raiders are fourth in the NFL in red zone offense (they score a TD 65 percent of the time) and the Dolphins are last in the NFL in red zone defense (they allow a TD a stunning 75 percent of the time).

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