The long-awaited release of the Miami Dolphins‘ 2014 schedule has finally come to pass. Below, you can see the club’s entire slate for this coming season, including the annual home and away contests with all three AFC East rivals, a tour of the AFC West and NFC North and matchups with the third-place squads of the AFC North and AFC South from 2013.
Week 1: vs. New England Patriots 1 p.m.
Week 2: at Buffalo Bills 1 p.m.
Week 3: vs. Kansas City Chiefs 4:25 p.m.
Week 4: at Oakland Raiders 1 p.m. (game to be played in London)
Week 5: Bye
Week 6: vs. Green Bay Packers 1 p.m.
Week 7: at Chicago Bears 1 p.m.
Week 8: at Jacksonville Jaguars 1 p.m.
Week 9: vs. San Diego Chargers 1 p.m.
Week 10: at Detroit Lions 1 p.m.
Week 11: vs. Buffalo Bills 8:45 (Thursday Night Football)
Week 12: at Denver Broncos 4:25 p.m.
Week 13: at New York Jets 8:30 p.m. (Monday Night Football)
Week 14: vs. Baltimore Ravens 1 p.m.
Week 15: at New England Patriots 1 p.m.
Week 16: vs. Minnesota Vikings 1 p.m.
Week 17: vs. New York Jets 1 p.m.
At first glance, the league’s 12th most difficult schedule when factoring in each team’s record in 2013 doesn’t appear all that imposing. Optimistically, for the Dolphins, the schedule presents an opportunity for the team to get off to hot start and to finish the year on a high note.
Considering Miami’s Week 4 matchup with Oakland will take place oversees at Wembley Stadium in London, the Dolphins only play one true road game during the first five games of the season. Similarly, the Dolphins only play one road game during the final four weeks of the year.
This could become especially beneficial if Joe Philbin‘s squad can manage to hang around in the playoff race down the stretch. Given the warm climate the Dolphins grow accustomed to throughout the season, just one trip to a cold-weather city during the final four games — a showdown with the Patriots in Week 15 — is certainly ideal as well.
The Dolphins are scheduled to play just two prime-time games in 2014, but that could change beginning in Week 5 now that the NFL reserves the right to swap a day game with a night game on Sundays after four weeks of play.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that analyzing the Dolphins’ schedule at this juncture is pointless. There is no telling which teams will improve and which teams will regress year in and year out. And if the Dolphins are able to play a playoff-caliber brand of football in 2014, it will show, regardless of how difficult the slate is.
Still, the early and final portions of the schedule could help propel the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2008. If, of course, the Dolphins can take care of business at home and at a neutral site.
Cody Strahm is an NFL author for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @CodyJStrahm.