The NFL schedule was released last night, slating all 256 regular season games. While looking at the schedule for when each team plays another club and when the bye week is schedule for each franchise leads to the initial analysis of the schedule, another important aspect is the weather impacts of the season.
Where will the Miami Dolphins be playing in cold weather? Where will they have the advantage of the South Florida heat? Where will none of that matter because the game is in a dome?
The Dolphins got lucky with some of their games, including their Week 2 contest at the New York Jets and the Week 4 game at the New England Patriots. They do not get the advantage of playing their two division rivals in the heat of South Florida in the early part of the season, but they also avoid the cold and snow that can happen in New York and Massachusetts late in the season. The average temperature for the Jets game on September 16 has an average high of 78°F and an average low of 59°F, while the Patriots game on September 30 will have an average high of 68°F, with an average low of 45°F,
The same can be said of playing in Cincinnati on October 7, when the average high is 71°F, while the low is 46°F.
The Dolphins have a couple of potentially cold-weather city games late in the season, but will be playing in a dome/retractable roof stadium for those contests. Their Week 12 game on November 25 against the Indianapolis Colts and their Week 15, December 16, game against the Minnesota Vikings should both fall into this category.
The Dolphins will also have a neutral weather game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 16. The impacts of moving down I95 from northern Florida down to Miami should be minimal for Jacksonville, even if they are wearing the black jerseys. The good thing is, the NFL did not schedule the Jaguars game in the earliest part of the season, when Miami’s advantage over some of the northern teams is at its greatest.
Week 2: @ New York Jets
Week 4: @ New England Patriots
Week 5: @ Cincinnati Bengals
Week 12: @Indianapolis Colts
Week 15: @ Minnesota Vikings
Week 16: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Thursday Night Football
Temperature-wise, the Week 8 game at the Houston Texans should not be a factor. The average temperatures in Houston at that time, 79°F/58°F are not that far off from Miami, but they should not be a factor. The stadium has a retractable roof, so even the night game in Houston should not be reaching the extremes.
Week 8: @ Houston Texans
Hot Weather Advantage
The Dolphins have an advantage early in the season when they welcome the Tennessee Titans to Miami in Week 1 and the Oakland Raiders to South Florida in Week 3. Both teams should be wearing dark jerseys and sitting in the sunlit opposing sideline during 1pm games. During the Titans game on September 9, the average high temperature in Miami Gardens is 90°F, while the low is 76°F. For the September 16 game with the Raiders, Miami Gardens will have the same 90°F/76°F high/low.
In Week 6, the Dolphins will host the Chicago Bears, again bringing dark jerseys to South Florida, where the average October 14 high/low will be 86°F/74°F, compared to the average Chicago temperatures of 64°F/46°F. The next week, the Dolphins will host the Detroit Lions, who will be wearing a lighter blue jersey but still be sitting int he sun for a 1pm South Florida game with average October 21 temperatures of 85°F/72°F, compared to Detroit temperatures of 58°F/43°F for the same time.
Moving into November, the Dolphins could still find themselves with a heat advantage with the New York Jets coming down to Miami. On November 4, the average temperatures in Miami are 83°F/68°F, while the East Rutherford temperatures are 59°F/41°F.
Even in December, Miami may still have some warm weather advantage. On December 2, when the Dolphins host the Buffalo Bills, the average temperature in Miami Gardens is 79°F/64°F. Compare that to the Bills’ average temperature back in Western New York of 41°F/28°F, and Miami may still get some advantage of the Bills sitting in the sun in their dark blue jerseys - assuming Miami does not go with their aqua throwbacks in this game, though it does feel like a perfect time for them.
A week later, the Dolphins could see the same type of advantage - again assuming they are not wearing the aqua throwbacks - when they host the New England Patriots. In Miami, the average December 9 temperatures are 78°F/63°F, while in Foxboro, the averages are 43°F/26°F. It may not be as great a warm weather advantage as if the game were played in the early portion of the season, but there is a chance the Dolphins can still wear down the Patriots (and Bills) late in the season if the sunlight is sitting on the opposing sideline nicely.
Week 1: vs. Tennessee Titans
Week 3: vs. Oakland Raiders
Week 6: vs. Chicago Bears
Week 7: vs. Detroit Lions
Week 9: vs. New York Jets
Week 13: vs. Buffalo Bills
Week 14: vs. New England Patriots
Cold Weather Disadvantage
The Dolphins could face their first cold-weather game of the year in Week 10 when they visit the Green Bay Packers. On Veteran’s Day, the average temperatures in Green Bay are 45°F/29°F, compared to Miami’s 82°F/67°F. Green Bay has an average of 3.8 days of snow in November, with an average of four inches accumulation.
The biggest cold-weather game on the schedule for the Dolphins will be their season finale against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park. The Bills’ hometown sees 14 days of snow with an average accumulation of 21.8 inches during December, while the December 30 temperature averages are 33°F/20°F. Miami is going to be facing freezing temperatures and snow when that game finally rolls around
Week 10: @ Green Bay Packers
Week 17: @ Buffalo Bills
The Dolphins get their bye week late in the season this year, which takes away a possible cold-weather date from the schedule. It also gives them a chance to rest before heading into a final six-week stretch of the season in which they will play an Indianapolis Colts team that is looking to rebound behind a return of Andrew Luck followed by five-straight games against 2017 playoff teams.
Of course, as we learned last year, a Week 11 bye week could disappear if a hurricane hits Miami - but that should not happen two years in a row, right?