The Miami Dolphins head north to face the New England Patriots next Sunday. While the game does not have any playoff implications for the Dolphins, it does have meaning when it comes to next season's schedule.
The Dolphins are currently the second place team in the AFC East, one game ahead of the New York Jets. While most of the schedule is already set, two games are still subject to next week's results. The NFL's schedule always features six games against a team's division rivals, then the team will play each team from one intra-conference division and each team from an inter-conference division. Finally, the team will play the two teams from the other two intra-conference divisions that finish in the same position as they do.
For the Dolphins, that means six games against the AFC East, four games against the AFC North, and four games against the NFC South. The teams they will face in the AFC South and AFC West are still to be determined.
The Dolphins schedule will feature the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers in Miami. The Dolphins will travel to play the Bills, Patriots, Jets, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While the Dolphins face the Patriots next Sunday, the Jets will be playing the Bills. Both kickoffs are in the 1:00pm Eastern time slot.
The official schedule, giving dates to all of the Dolphins' games, will likely be released in April.