It is only Week 1 of the 2018 regular season, but that does not mean playoff considerations can not be already made. I know, it is way too early, but at the end of the season, a win in Week 1 could make or break the Miami Dolphins’ playoff positioning. As such, we need to take a look across the NFL’s schedule and see which way you should be rooting.
The basic rules for most of the game is that you root the Dolphins, for NFC teams over AFC teams, and you do not root for teams in the AFC East. Later in the year, when strengths of victory and the surprises of the season - “bad” teams being good and “good” teams being bad - this will adjust, but for Week 1, here is our rooting guide:
The first game on our tracker is actually a tough one to try to decide where to root. The Bills were in the playoffs last year and are an AFC East team, so the rule should be to root against them. The Ravens, however, are always a tough team for Miami - luckily they are not a regular season opponent this year - and should be in the AFC Wildcard picture. A loss early in the year from Baltimore could be a good thing for Miami. At the end of the day, however, we will stick with trying to see Miami get ahead of Buffalo in the division. Root for: Ravens.
Can the Jaguars repeat their 2017 performance and win the AFC South? If they can put themselves in that position, then a win here is actually better for Miami because it will help their strength of schedule and possibly strength of victory when the Dolphins host the Jaguars in Week 16. That said, AFC losses are better for Miami right now, especially if the Jaguars are not able to reclaim their division title and are in Wildcard positions. Root for: Giants.
If we are being honest, the Patriots will win the AFC East again this year, while the Texans will be a Wildcard competitor (assuming they do not beat the Jaguars for the AFC South championship). A Houston loss here is probably better for the Dolphins, especially since the Dolphins have two shots at the Patriots and just one at the Texans. I cannot write that however, because it is the Patriots, and at this point, we will assume Miami is in the running for the AFC East. Root for: Texans.
This one is simple. Miami plays the Vikings this year, they do not play the 49ers. Two NFC teams does nothing for the playoff picture in the AFC, so getting Miami’s opponent a stronger strength of schedule is better. Root for: Vikings.
Both teams are on Miami’s schedule this year, neither team was a playoff team in 2017, and both could struggle this year. I will lean toward Andrew Luck’s return making the Colts a better team in 2018, so I want to see them lose early, but this is a coin toss game at this point. Root for: Either.
Assuming the Ravens are in the Wildcard hunt probably means the Steelers are winning the AFC North. Miami does not play either of these two teams this season, so seeing Pittsburgh get out to an early divisional lead will be good. Root for: Steelers.
Another AFC versus AFC game that does not have much of an impact on the Dolphins - at least until the Wildcard picture starts to come into focus. The Chiefs won the division last year, with the Chargers a game behind them but missing the playoffs. This game is just about who you think will be more likely to win the division and which team you want to see pick up a loss for the Wildcard competition. Root for: Either.
NFC versus AFC make this one simple. Root for: Seahawks.
Miami faces both teams this year, so the strength of schedule options sort of come into play, but since they even each other out with a win and a loss in this game, it does not mean anything in the long run unless Miami beats the loser and loses to the winner. Another coin-toss game that could be in the not considered list, but made it up here. Root for: Either.
A pretty straight forward one, though you could argue that the Dolphins face both of these teams, and since the Jets are on the schedule twice, a win for them here could be better for Miami’s strength of victory/schedule, but getting ahead in the AFC East is always better. Plus, there is no way to write “Root for” followed by the New York team unless it is an absolute necessity. Root for: Lions.
NFC at AFC. The strength of victory/schedule could be an option here, but getting the Raiders a loss in the Wildcard chase is better. Root for: Rams.
Games without consequence for Dolphins