Analyzing the Dolphins schedule

The annual release of the Dolphins' regular season schedule wouldn't be complete without an analysis, and the first thing that jumps out when looking at the 2006 version is the season finale at Indianapolis. At Indy? Could it get any tougher?

The Dec. 31 game currently is slate for 1 p.m., but it's clearly a game that could have playoff implications and therefore could be switched to prime time under the new "flex scheduling" formula.

Regardless of when it's played, it figures to be a major battle for the Dolphins because Indy again should be one of the top teams in the league in 2006.

The Dolphins also have a killer opener, the Sept. 7 Thursday night game at Pittsburgh against the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers.

In between, the schedule looks palatable, other than a stretch of three consecutive weeks road games in October. The good news there is that two of three opponents during that span, Houston and the Jets, don't figure to be that good next season.

It's also a plus the Dolphins don't have to play at New England late in the season as they have in recent years. Rather, their trip to Foxborough comes Oct. 8 in the middle of the three-game road stretch.

The only potential snow-influenced game, really, should be the Dec. 17 affair at Buffalo, but the Bills also have the look of another team that could be in for a long year.

The good news on the schedule include a well-timed bye, after seven games, as well as home games against Buffalo and Tennessee to follow up the tough opener at Pittsburgh.

If the Dolphins can steal the game at Heinz Field, they could be looking at a 3-0 start.

The Dolphins also play five of seven games at home following the October stretch of road games, which could help the Dolphins build some momentum for the stretch run.

The bottom line, however, is that the schedule rarely plays a huge part in a team's success or failure.

On the surface, this looks like a reasonable schedule for the Dolphins, other than the way it starts and ends.

Dolphins Report Top Stories