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Dolphins 2021 schedule: Opponents finalized pending potential 17th game

New England Patriots Vs. Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium

The Miami Dolphins finished their 2020 regular season with a 10-6 record, but did not qualify for the playoffs. That means, as good as they were this year, it is disappointing that they are already preparing for the 2021 season instead of a Wildcard game. Last week, we took a look at the preliminary Dolphins opponents list for 2021. Now, we can take a look at the (almost) finalized list of teams Miami will face next year.

The NFL’s annual schedule is based on a rotation. While each team will face the other three teams in their division twice, once at home and once away to make up six of the 16 games, eight games on the schedule are from the rotation of one division within the conference and one division from the other conference. The final two games are against the teams in the two divisions from within the conference not on the rotation who finish in the same position as the original team.

To make it less abstract, in 2021, the AFC East will face the AFC South and the NFC South. That leaves the AFC North and AFC West to make the remaining two games. The Dolphins finished second in the AFC East, meaning they will face the second place teams from the AFC North (Baltimore Ravens) and the AFC West (Las Vegas Raiders).

The only question left to be answered is the potential 17th game on every team’s schedule if the NFL approves that game. (They will.) As of now, the league, under the collective bargaining agreement, is allowed to add a 17th game to the schedule, but they have not yet approved the measure (likely waiting to ensure they have the television contracts in place before making it official). Should the league decide to move forward with the 17th game in 2021 (they will), it is expected that the odd game will feature a rotating matchup with a division from the other conference against the team that finishes in the same position. It is believed the league will simply match up geographic divisions in the first year, meaning the AFC East would be paired with the NFC East, meaning the Dolphins would then face the New York Giants. There has not been indications on how the home team would be decided for that game.

Here are the 16 known opponents for Miami. If the 17th game is added, we will update the listing:

Home:

Buffalo Bills (AFC East)
New England Patriots (AFC East)
New York Jets (AFC East)
Houston Texans (AFC South)
Indianapolis Colts (AFC South)
Atlanta Falcons (NFC South)
Carolina Panthers (NFC South)
Baltimore Ravens (AFC North second-place team)

Away:

Buffalo Bills (AFC East)
New England Patriots (AFC East)
New York Jets (AFC East)
Jacksonville Jaguars (AFC South)
Tennessee Titans (AFC South)
New Orleans Saints (NFC South)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFC South)
Las Vegas Raiders (AFC West second-place team)