2009 Dolphins Schedule: Breaking It Down

Based on the opponents, we knew before the announcement of the schedule, the Dolphins wouldn't have it easy in 2009. But the league again did the Dolphins no favors.

Just like 2008, the Dolphins had a nasty stretch of games predominantly on the road. Last year, it was four road games in a five-week span; this year, the Dolphins will be looking at six road games in eight weeks.

And those six road opponents aren't exactly cupcakes: the Jets, New England, Carolina, Buffalo, Jacksonville and finally Tennessee in the Dolphins' last road game, Dec. 20.

Perhaps even more challenging is a road game at San Diego on Sept. 27, which comes six days after the Dolphins play host to Peyton Manning and the Colts in a Monday night game at Dolphin Stadium.

It's bad enough to make a team play on the road following a Monday night game, but to send them all the way across the country reeks of unfairness.

Then again, the Dolphins have owned the Chargers lately (seven straight victories), so maybe the league figured they'd give San Diego an advantage.

Seriously, this is bad scheduling.

It's really a brutal start to the season the Dolphins have, opening at Atlanta followed by the games against the Colts and Chargers.

At least, the Dolphins follow that with a stretch of three consecutive home games sandwiched around their bye. They may need to do some damage during those three games, because the schedule is tough enough at the start that an 0-3 start seems entirely possible.

Another thing you'll notice about the Dolphins schedule is that the first two home games in the daytime will start at 4:05 and 4:15. That would seem to minimize the Dolphins' advantage of being more accustomed to the heat, something that paid off handsomely in the past.

The Dolphins' success in 2008 has translated into at least three prime-time games next season, with a fourth currently on the schedule.

The three set in stone are at home against Indianapolis on Monday night, Sept. 21; at home against the Jets on Monday night, Oct. 12; and at Carolina on Thursday, Oct. 19.

The fourth at this time is the Dec. 6 home game against New England, but that's during flex scheduling time, meaning it could be switched out if there's a more appealing matchup at that time.

Being that the Patriots likely will be contenders again in 2009, one can only hope NBC keeps the game because it has playoff implications.

That game against New England will be the second against the Patriots in a span of five weeks; the Dolphins will play the Jets twice in four weeks earlier in the season.

At least the schedule includes two home games to close the regular season; but there again, the finale is against the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

Nope, nothing will come easy for the Dolphins in 2009.

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