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Miami Dolphins Week 1 rooting guide

Each week of the NFL season, we break down the games across the league, and how they impact the Miami Dolphins.

NFL: Super Bowl 50-Carolina Panthers vs Denver Broncos Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL season is just about upon us, with the Denver Broncos opening the regular season as the Super Bowl champions later tonight. This year will mark the first time the first game of the season is a rematch of the Super Bowl as the Broncos host the Carolina Panthers. Does that mean we waited seven months for the second-half of a double header?

And, if Carolina wins Thursday night, is it actually “revenge” given they are not getting rings for tonight’s game?

Each week of the season, we go through the NFL schedule and take a look at the results that best help the Miami Dolphins. This “rooting guide” looks to work on things like strength of schedule and strength of victory as well as the regular standings that determine playoff positioning. Since the season is about to start, it is time for the Week 1 edition of the Miami Dolphins rooting guide.

2016 NFL Week 1

Miami Dolphins rooting guide

Root for the Dolphins. Hope everyone else the AFC loses (if playing an NFC team) or ties (if playing an AFC team). Rooting guide complete.

Okay, you probably want a little more detail than that. But, it is Week 1, so it is little more than guess work in trying to determine who will be the teams Miami needs to see lose versus who they need to win. But, we will give it a shot:

Carolina Panthers at Denver Broncos
Thursday, 8:30pm ET

NFC versus AFC, so it helps the Dolphins in the Wildcard hunt if the AFC team loses. Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler are not on the Broncos’ roster, so they are probably going to take a dip this year which makes them competition for the Dolphins for that Wildcard positioning. Root for: Panthers.

Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans
Sunday, 1pm ET

Another NFC versus AFC matchup, which means you need to root for the NFC team. Tennessee will be looking to take a step forward with Marcus Mariota this year, which may or may not put them in Wildcard contention. The Vikings heading into this game - and this year - without Teddy Bridgewater will probably make this game more intriguing than it may have been before the injury. Root for: Vikings.

Cleveland Browns at Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, 1pm ET

Hmmm. AFC at NFC. Switch the home side in this matchup, as compared to the first two games in the guide, but the rooting results are still the same. The Browns start the Robert Griffin III era by heading to the NFC East, a place where RGIII should be comfortable after starting his career with the Washington Redskins. The argument could be made that a Browns win here could actually be a good situation for the Dolphins, adding to their strength of schedule and, possibly, strength of victory for late season tie-breaks, but it is probably more important to get ahead in the standings than it is to worry about tie-breaks this early in the year. Root for: Eagles.

Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets
Sunday, 1pm ET

The first AFC versus AFC contest on the schedule this week, and arguments could be made for both teams as the right team for whom to root this week. The Bengals could be in the Wildcard hunt if they do not win their division, so a loss here could be a good thing for Miami. However, a loss by the Jets means (a) a loss for a division rival and (b) a loss for the Jets. Never root for the Jets. Even when their win helps Miami - like beating the Patriots or something - you cannot root for the Jets. Maybe you root for the Patriots to lose in that scenario, but not for the Jets to win. In this week’s contest, do not root for the Jets. Root for: Bengals.

Oakland Raiders at New Orleans Saints
Sunday, 1pm

The schedule comes back to the AFC versus NFC format. The Raiders are considered to be in contention in the AFC West, but they are probably fighting for a Wildcard position, which means Miami needs them to lose. Root for: Saints.

San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, 1pm ET

This game is perhaps the toughest one to pick in the rooting guide. Miami plays San Diego this year, which could make a win for them a good one in the strength of schedule/victory tie-breaks. The Chiefs may not be on the Dolphins’ schedule, but someone has to win the AFC West, and Kansas City could be that team. A win here could start them toward that division championship, which would get them out of the Wildcard positioning. At this point, the rooting guide will favor getting teams out of the Wildcard positioning over tie-breaks, so a Kansas City win can help them toward the division title, while a San Diego loss could keep them behind Miami in the Wildcard hunt. Root for: Chiefs.

Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, 1pm ET

Once again, we have an AFC versus AFC contest, but it includes an AFC East team. This one does have a little argument for Baltimore to lose, given they could rebound after all of the injuries they suffered last year, but Miami needs to get in front of the other AFC East teams early, so Buffalo losing helps the Dolphins more. Root for: Ravens.

Chicago Bears at Houston Texans
Sunday, 1pm ET

NFC versus AFC with neither team on Miami’s 2016 schedule. That makes it a pretty simple decision. Root for: Bears.

Green Bay Packers at Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, 1pm ET

Copy and paste the Bears at Texans write-up. Root for: Packers.

Miami Dolphins at Seattle Seahawks.
Sunday, 4:05pm ET

This is a Miami Dolphins rooting guide. Probably a pretty straight forward selection here. Root for: Dolphins.

Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, 4:25pm ET

This game comes down to how the AFC South falls this year. If you think the Colts will win the division, this game should go to Indianapolis If you think Houston or Jacksonville is poised for the division title, you want the Colts to lose. The safer bet is to hope the Colts lose, just like the Texans and Jaguars games listed above. Root for: Lions.

New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, 8:30pm ET

The Dolphins - and the rest of the AFC East - have to hope the Patriots stumble out of the gate with Tom Brady if they are going to surpass New England for the division crown With the Patriots playing an NFC team in Week 1, the rooting guide is easy to predict Root for: Cardinals

Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins
Monday, 7:10pm ET

Another AFC versus NFC matchup Again, the argument could be made that the Steelers winning the division gets them out of the way in the Wildcard hunt, and that Miami could use the Steelers in the tie-break scenarios, but the rooting guide goes fairly simple in Week 1 Root for: Redskins.

No impact games:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers