When the Miami Dolphins take the field in 2016 for the first time under Adam Gase, Dolphins fans will once again have high hopes and expectations.
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Let’s face one singular fact here. Until the calendar turns the page to July 29th, 2016, there won’t be much to talk about. Training camp is close but still not quite here yet. Today we take a look at the ten toughest games for the Dolphins in 2016.
Week 1 Seattle
Forget the fact the Seahawks are a well coached seasoned team. The Dolphins have to open the season traveling clear across the country. The Dolphins are not a team that consistently plays well on the road.
The Dolphins will still be looking for continuity when the season opens and traveling to Seattle isn’t ideal. That being said, a strong training camp and pre-season could give the Dolphins enough self-belief to knock off a team that could potentially look at this game as a cake walk.
Week 2 Patriots
Opening two games on the road is never an easy task. The Dolphins will do that for the 2nd season in a row. For now the Patriots game will be interesting because no one knows if Tom Brady will be the quarterback after having his four game suspension reinstated. If Brady isn’t on the field, Miami’s chances are much better but you can bet New England will be hell-bent on January 1st when the Pats travel to Miami.
Week 4 Bengals
The Bengals are a consistent playoff team but they are not consistent winners in the playoffs. They have a strong receiving core and a solid quarterback but the Bengals are a beatable team. For the Dolphins it will mark the 3rd road game out of four games to start the season and the travel could become problematic.
On the plus side, Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph knows the Bengals well.
Week 6 Steelers
The Steelers will return to Miami for the first time since 2010. The Steelers lead the series by one game between the clubs. This game should give fans a solid look at where the Dolphins realistically are at and what direction they ar going. With six games in fans should have a good idea of whether or not Ryan Tannehill has picked up the Gase offense and if this team could turn things around and challenge for the post-season.
The Steelers are a tough football team and well coached and are the 4th tough team to play the Dolphins in the first six weeks.
Week 10 San Diego
The Chargers don’t appear to be a great football team but the West coast trip along with the Rams a week later in Los Angeles is going to likely keep players on the WC for two weeks. San Diego is a mess in a lot of areas but they still have a strong offense that is capable of putting up points.
Week 13 Ravens
The Dolphins are hoping to find better results in Baltimore than they did in Miami against the club the last three seasons. Last years two point victory over the Ravens (15-13) was far from a turnaround for a club who had previously lost the previous two games against the Ravens in Miami.
This will mark the 4th consecutive season that the two out of division teams have played each other.
Last season the Ravens were far from what many expected and it was one of the worst seasons under Jim Harbaugh. If the Ravens can bounce back, they will give the Dolphins a fit but it’s a game that Miami not only must win, but should be able to win.
Week 14 Cardinals
If there is at least some reprieve to this game it’s that the Cardinals have to travel to Miami. The Cardinals are one of the top teams in the NFC and the Cardinals are expected to challenge for the Super Bowl in 2016.
This game will no doubt be a hard challenge for the Dolphins and it could have playoff ramifications as the season begins to enter the final four weeks of the season.
Week 15 Jets
The Dolphins will face the Jets twice in 2016 but the 2nd game between the two clubs is the more important one given the fact that playoffs and division standings are on the line. The Jets and the Bills both swept the Dolphins last year and doing so this year will not give fans much belief in Adam Gase.
The Dolphins will travel to New York in mid-December to face the Jets and then travel the following week to play the Bills to close out the month.
Week 16 Bills
It’s difficult to determine if the Bills will be a formidable opponent in 2016 under Rex Ryan for the 2nd season but like the Jets, the Bills have had the Dolphins number the last couple of years including two games last season.
If the Dolphins want to even sniff the playoff scenarios that are thrust in the faces of viewers this time of year then Miami must beat the Bills in December, in Buffalo.
Week 17 New England
This is a bonus week because the Patriots could stand between the Dolphins and the post-season (o.k. not really all that likely).