Last year, the Miami Dolphins had the 12th toughest schedule in the NFL according to NFL.com. Now that the New England Patriots are Super Bowl Champions again, you could argue that the Dolphins’ schedule was even tougher last year, seeing that they had to play the Super Bowl Champs twice.
This year, the Miami Dolphins have a much easier schedule, partially thanks to the fact that they play the AFC South, which was a combined 14-34 outside of the division winning Indianapolis Colts last season. This year, the Dolphins will have the 17th toughest NFL schedule, according to CBS Sports. Their opponents were a combined 126-130 last season combined.
This year will be all about making the playoffs for the Miami Dolphins, a feat that they haven’t accomplished since 2008. Here are the five most important games for the Miami Dolphins if they want to make the playoffs in 2015.
1. Week 4, Vs. New York Jets, 9:30 AM EDT
No that is not a typo. The Dolphins will play at 9:30 in the morning against the Jets in London. They drew the short end of the stick, getting one of their home games at a neutral site across the Atlantic. I could easily put all five of these games as division games, and it was hard not to. The Patriots win the division every year because they beat their division rivals, and that is exactly what the Dolphins need to do a better job of. If they can win this one “at home” against former Dolphins coach Todd Bowles, I like their chances to move past the Bills and Jets in the division with their sights set on the Patriots. Both the Bills games will be equally important too though, especially since the Bills swept Miami last year with their defensive play alone.
2. Week 8, @ New England Patriots, 8:25 PM EDT
The Dolphins have taken two out of the last three against the Patriots, but have not beaten the Patriots in Foxborough since 2008, when Ronnie Brown torched Bill Belichick for five scores en route to a 38-13 victory on the road. If the Dolphins want to become playoff contenders and actually win games once in the playoffs, they will need to prove they can beat the league’s best on the road. This is the perfect chance to prove just that, on the road on Thursday Night Football. They got lucky to play the Pats in New England this early in the year, and will need to take advantage of not having to play in the snow. This game could end up determining the AFC East crown.
3. Week 13, Vs. Baltimore Ravens, 1:00 PM EST
Just like their drought against the Pats on the road, the Dolphins haven’t beaten the Ravens since 2007, when they avoided a dreadful 0-16 season by beating the Ravens at home 22-16 in overtime. The Ravens have owned the Dolphins since, and knocked them out of the 2008 playoffs. They are a consistent playoff team, and failed to make the playoffs for the first time in six years last season. The Ravens, like the Patriots, are a Super Bowl caliber team and could be a possible opponent for Miami should they make the playoffs. At worst, this game could give the Dolphins a leg-up in tiebreaking procedures for the wildcard race.
2. Week15, @ San Diego Chargers, 4:25 PM EST
The Dolphins have actually fared well against the Chargers in the past, and destroyed them at home 37-0 last season. However, it was the Chargers who had the late season surged and managed to finish 9-7, one game ahead of the Dolphins in the wildcard race. Philip Rivers is a winner and a fantastic leader, and with Peyton Manning and Broncos entering a new regime under Gary Kubiak, the Chargers are my pick to win the AFC West this year. This game, like the Ravens game, could be huge for a Dolphins team desperate to play in January. Beating the Chargers on the road could be the big win the Dolphins need to boost their momentum heading into…
1. Week 16, Vs. Indianapolis Colts, 1:00 PM EST
The Dolphins have an extremely tough end to their 2015 season, facing the Chargers, Colts and Patriots in the final three weeks to round out the regular season. Since being drafted together in the 2012 NFL Draft, Andrew Luck is all anybody can talk about, and for good reason. He has already lived up to his expectation as the number one overall pick in that draft, and it just on the fringe from winning his first Super Bowl title. And yet, Ryan Tannehill (who has played on much worse teams than Luck so far), is still 1-1 all-time against the Luck-led Colts. This game could be start of a great rivalry between the two young gunslingers. If Tannehill can lead the ‘Fins past Luck in this end of the year showdown, the Dolphins should at least make the playoffs as a wildcard. It is games like these that will take Tannehill to the next level as a leader and competitor, let’s hope he can make the most of them.
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