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NFL Schedule 2016: Dolphins opponents set for next season; Two LA trips possible

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With a week to go in the 2015 season, the Miami Dolphins' opponents for 2016 are set.

The Miami Dolphins could be headed to two games in Los Angeles next year if relocation packets are approved for the San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Rams.
The Miami Dolphins could be headed to two games in Los Angeles next year if relocation packets are approved for the San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Rams.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL does not release the official schedule for each season until sometime around April, but that does not mean we do not know which teams will face off at which location ahead of the schedule. The league uses a rotational process to determine which divisions will play each other in any given season, then uses finishing position for each team to round out the schedule. That means, with a week to play this year, the Miami Dolphins' 2016 schedule has been filled with the teams that Miami will have to play next year.

The AFC East will face the AFC North and the NFC West next season, meaning Miami will have the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, and San Francisco 49ers at home in 2016. They will visit the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, St. Louis Rams, and Seattle Seahawks. Six of the games will be made up of the home-and-home series against the rest of the AFC East, meaning the last two opponents are all that had to be decided.

Based on Miami losing yesterday while Buffalo won, the Dolphins are locked into the basement of the AFC East for this year. The Dolphins will then host the last place team from the AFC South and visit the last place team from the AFC West. Those teams are also locked into their positions, with Miami welcoming the AFC South's Tennessee Titans and visiting the San Diego Chargers, the second straight year Miami will head to visit the Chargers.

It also means, if the Rams and the Chargers are approved to relocate this offseason, the Dolphins could have two games in Los Angeles. Those trips, plus the game in Seattle, could mean Miami spends a lot of time on the west coast in 2016. The league could look to schedule back-to-back away games for Miami for two weeks, allowing the team the option to stay on the west coast and find a place to practice out there, rather that return back to Miami only to fly back out west.

Miami will have seven games next year against opponents who are currently in position to make the Playoffs (Patriots twice, Jets twice, Bengals, Cardinals, Seahawks). They will face opponents currently with losing records heading eight times (Bills twice, Browns Chargers, Ravens, Titans, 49ers, and Rams). The Bills and Rams could reach the 8-8 mark with wins next week.

The home and away teams for Miami will be:

Home

Bills
Jets
Patriots
Browns
Steelers
49ers
Cardinals
Titans

Away

Bills
Jets
Patriots
Bengals
Ravens
Rams
Seahawks
Chargers