The NFL schedule was released on Thursday and an interesting slate was revealed for the Miami Dolphins. The opponents were previously known for the Dolphins and the rest of the league, but the order of games brings clarity on what to expect in 2018.
After much griping from Dolphins fans about the way the schedule fell out over the last several seasons, they received a fairly favorable slate. They will play three December games in the friendly warm confines of Hard Rock Stadium and a week 15 road contest at roofed-in Minnesota.
The only troublesome late-season matchup from a weather standpoint is the season finale at Buffalo.
Miami also will open the season at home for just the second time since 2011 after last year's Week 1 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was moved due to Hurricane Irma. Assuming no weather-related postponements occur again and cause a schedule change, the Dolphins Week 11 bye comes at a perfect time as well.
The Dolphins are playing their regular home and home intradivisional matchups. Games at the New York Jets and at the New England Patriots are both in the season's first month, with neutralizes that Week 17 Bills contest.
By virtue of finishing in third place in the AFC East, Miami is playing last year's third-place finisher from the AFC West (Oakland, September 23) at home and at the AFC North's third-place team (Cincinnati, October 7).
The two divisions that the Dolphins and the rest of the AFC East are scheduled to square off against are the AFC South and NFC North. That creates a few compelling matchups for the Fins, including a road trip to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers Week 10 and a Week 16 intrastate home showdown against the reigning AFC South champion Jacksonville Jaguars.
Some of the more interesting schedule quirks. Miami is seeing the Titans for the fourth year in a row and the Bengals for the second time in three seasons. The Dolphins also have only one primetime game on the current schedule, a Week 8 Thursday Night Football matchup on the road against the Houston Texans.
Due to a new wrinkle in the NFL schedule, Miami's game against Jacksonville could also be flexed into an NFL Network Saturday primetime slot.
The Dolphins preseason slate was also announced and Miami will open against Tampa Bay August 9 followed by games at Carolina (August 17), vs. Baltimore (August 25) and at Atlanta (August 30).
Miami Dolphins 2018 Regular Season Schedule:
Sept. 9: Tennessee 1 p.m.
Sept. 16: at New York Jets 1 p.m.
Sept. 23: Oakland Raiders 1 p.m.
Sept. 30: at New England Patriots 1 p.m.
Oct. 7: at Cincinnati 1 p.m.
Oct. 14: Chicago Bears 1 p.m.
Oct. 21: Detroit Lions 1 p.m.
Oct. 25: at Houston 8:20 p.m. (NFLN/FOX)
Nov. 4: New York Jets 1 p.m.
Nov. 11: at Green Bay 1 p.m.
Nov. 18: BYE
Nov. 25: at Indianapolis Colts 1 p.m.
Dec. 2: Buffalo 1 p.m.
Dec. 9: New England Patriots 1 p.m.
Dec. 16: at Minnesota 1 p.m.
Dec 22 or 23: Jacksonville Jaguars TBA
Dec. 30: at Buffalo 1 p.m.
Cover photo from Unsplash