6 toughest Miami Dolphins games on the schedule are not all on the road

Some tough home and away games are on the way for Miami this fall and winter
New York Giants v Miami Dolphins
New York Giants v Miami Dolphins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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Week 17: Dolphins at the Cleveland Browns

On paper, this looks to be a great matchup between these two playoff-fighting teams. The Browns have one of the best-built defenses in the NFL, but their offense can struggle. DeShaun Watson gets his first crack at the Dolphins after they opted not to trade for him. That will only serve as social media chatter. The real context of this game will be where both teams are at when the NFL season heads into its final two weekends.

The Browns made the playoffs last year, but will they do so in 2024? The Steelers are better, the Ravens are still the team to beat, and the Bengals will have Joe Burrow back, making the AFC North one of the toughest divisions in the conference. By the time this game is played, the North could be in the hands of any one of those teams. Both the Browns and Dolphins could be playing for their postseason lives, and the loser could find themselves needing help in Week 18 to earn a Wild Card spot.

Week 14 and 18: Dolphins vs. the New York Jets

Dolphins fans that say the Jets will not be any good this year are fooling themselves. The reality is New York finished 7-9 last year without their starting quarterback. I agree that the Jets will not make the playoffs if Aaron Rodgers isn't healthy, but regardless of what their record is in December, they will play the Dolphins twice and whenever Miami and New York face off, it can be a grudge match.

The teams will play each other in Week 14 and then again in Week 18 to wrap up the season. New York comes to Miami early in the month before the Dolphins travel to MetLife the first weekend of January. It could be extremely cold weather waiting the Dolphins who will have traveled to "balmy" Cleveland the week before.

Wrapping the 2024 season with back-to-back cold-weather road games is tough; facing a division rival twice in the span of five weeks isn't easy either. The NFL did Miami no favors with this schedule.

2024 schedule overall

Early-season games like the one against Jacksonville are important because the Dolphins will need to get out to a quick start, given their late-season contests. Miami opens with the Jaguars and Bills, but neither of those are easy. The next "tough" game will be the Bills again in Week 9, and that is followed by a huge trip to the West Coast to face another tough playoff contender, the Rams. By the time they get back home for the Raiders and Patriots, the season will be on the line as they enter the final six-game stretch of the season.