Miami Dolphins’ 2021 opponents and strength of schedule

Who are the Miami Dolphins’ 2021 NFL opponents as they look to continue the positive progress they made in the 2020 season? Let’s look at who the Dolphins are set to play in 2021, and what that means in terms of their strength of schedule ranking compared to other teams.

Who do the Dolphins play in 2021?

The Dolphins’ list of 2021 opponents will see them play the regular six games against the AFC East: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, and New York Jets. As is customary, the Dolphins will face each of those three teams both at home and on the road during the 2021 season.

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In addition, the 2021 season will have the AFC East compete against the AFC South and NFC South for another eight games. The traditional schedule’s final two games will see the Dolphins face the two teams that finished in third place of the AFC North (Baltimore Ravens) and AFC West (Las Vegas Raiders).

What about the Dolphins’ 17th game in 2021?

The 2021 season is expected to introduce a 17th regular season game for all NFL teams. Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport reported on NFL.com that plans are in place to expand the regular season. Although their report has yet to be officially confirmed by the NFL. With that in mind, who would be the opponent for the Dolphins’ 17th game in the 2021 season?

Reports suggest that a decision has been made on how the 17th game opponent will be decided. The matchup will be an interconference matchup based on standings on a rotational basis.

Albert Breer reported that the divisional alignments for the 2021 season had already been set. According to Breer, the AFC East will match up with the NFC East for the 17th game. Therefore, the Dolphins’ opponent for their 17th game in 2021 would be the New York Giants.

The Miami Dolphins’ 2021 opponents

Here are the teams that the Miami Dolphins will play against in the 2021 NFL season:

Home: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Baltimore Ravens

Road: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Las Vegas Raiders

17th game (location TBD): New York Giants

Miami Dolphins’ strength of schedule for 2021

As we look ahead towards the 2021 NFL season, how does the Dolphins’ strength of schedule for 2021 shape up? The strength of schedule rankings here are based on the 2020 records of the Dolphins’ 2021 opponents.

The Dolphins have a relatively easy schedule in 2021

The Dolphins’ 2021 strength of schedule ranks as the sixth-easiest in the NFL. They have the second easiest schedule in the AFC and the easiest schedule in the AFC East

The six games against their own division make a big difference to the way the Dolphins’ schedule ranks. The games against the Patriots and Jets see the Dolphins face two teams who won 9 out of their 32 games. However, the games against the Bills significantly adds to the difficulty of their schedule. The Bills won 13 of their 16 games last season, making it all the way to the AFC Championship Game.

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The remaining of the Dolphins’ 2021 opponents includes another five playoff teams. Those five teams are the Titans, Saints, Colts, Ravens, and the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers. Including the Bills, that is seven games the Dolphins will have against teams with winning records from 2020.

However, the Dolphins’ schedule does get some respite. Facing the Raiders, Jaguars, Texans, Falcons,  Panthers, and Giants, means they face six teams with an average of just 4.7 wins during the 2020 season. Facing the two-win Jets twice certainly helps ease the schedule difficulty further. One mitigating factor is that the Jaguars, Jets, and Texans, are all expected to improve in the 2021 NFL season.

How does their schedule at home compare to their schedule on the road?

The home and road breakdown of the Dolphins’ 2021 opponents is intriguing. In Hard Rock Stadium, they will face just three teams with a winning record from last season.

Overall, the Dolphins’ home schedule ranks as the seventh-easiest in the NFL. Additionally, the hot and humid weather in Miami can offer a significant advantage to the Dolphins in the early part of the schedule.

However, on the road, they face five teams with winning records in 2020. The Dolphins’ will host two teams who made it to the last four, and four teams who went all the way to the final eight in the 2020 NFL season. Therefore, it could be difficult for the Dolphins to come away from their 2020 road schedule with a record above 4-4 or 5-3.

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Ben Rolfe is a Senior Managing Editor at Pro Football Network and is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can find him on Twitter @BenRolfePFN.

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