The NFL released the 2017 schedule last night, including the Miami Dolphins’ 16 games over the league’s 17 week regular season. The headlines for the Dolphins’ schedule were the four prime time games they will have this year, the league allowing the team to opt out of the bye week after the London game in Week 4 and take the off week late in the year (Week 11), and the league actually allowing the Dolphins to open the season at home for just the second time in six seasons.
Looking at the schedule now, there are some oddities in the slate of games. These are not necessarily competitive advantages or disadvantages, though they could prove to be once the season actually begins, but are rather just some strange things that ended up happening with Miami’s schedule this year.
We take a look at five of these oddities today:
- The Dolphins will open the season at home, but then go on the road in Weeks 2 and 3, then have a “home” game in Week 4, but it is in London, before they finally return to Hard Rock Stadium in Week 5. That is one true home game in the first month of the season.
- The AFC East schedule this year is different this year. The Dolphins play the home-and-home series for each team without starting the next one. For example, the Dolphins play at the New York Jets in Week 3, then play the other half of the series in Week 7 in Miami. They then play the New England Patriots for the first time in Week 12 at New England, then finish it in Week 14 on Monday Night Football in Miami. The Buffalo Bills portion of the series starts in Week 15 at Buffalo, then finishes in Week 17 in Miami.
- It is also odd that the Dolphins will play the Patriots twice in three weeks and they will play the Bills twice in three weeks. The league back-loaded all of the Patriots and Bills games for Miami this season, and it ended up making it a pretty quick turn around between the two games of each series.
- Back-to-back-to-back prime time games. The national television audience is going to get to see a lot of the Dolphins in the middle of the season. In Week 8, they will be on Thursday Night Football playing at the Baltimore Ravens. They return home in Week 9 to face the Oakland Raiders on Sunday Night Football. Then, in Week 9, they travel to North Carolina to face the Carolina Panthers, a Monday Night Football game. You do not typically see that kind of prime time stretch for one team.
- The Dolphins have the sixth most difficult schedule in terms of 2016 winning percentage strength of schedule, but do not play a 2016 playoff team until their Week 6 trip to the Atlanta Falcons, visiting the NFC Champions. They have a break until the Oakland Raiders in Week 9, in terms of facing 2016 playoff teams, then the Patriots in Weeks 12 and 14, and the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 16.