Dolphins schedule: 4 must-win non-division games for Miami in 2024

The Dolphins season will not be easy and these games will be important for a postseason run
New York Jets v Miami Dolphins
New York Jets v Miami Dolphins / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

The Miami Dolphins must take care of business in the AFC East. The more division wins, the easier it is to make the playoffs. With that said, the non-division games are also going to be quite crucial for Mike McDaniel and Co. in 2024.

In 2023, the Dolphins did great against teams with a sub .500 record, which once again needs to be the case. As we have learned in recent years, though, the Dolphins have struggled against teams with winning records. This is disheartening for many reasons. In terms of teams with losing records, the Dolphins loss to the Titans was a tide-turning one that made the Bills path to the division title a little easier.

Looking ahead to this upcoming season, Miami has to prove they can be consistent across the board. Having said that, there are also some non-AFC East games that Tua Tagovailoa and others will have to be at their best in. We have four in mind leading up to the schedule release:

Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans

The Texans were the surprise team of the 2023 season and they not only walked away as the AFC South champions, but they also won a playoff game. There will be a lot at stake when the two teams face each other this campaign.

The Dolphins will be on the road and playoff seeding will likely be the topic between the two clubs when the season hits the last four weeks of the year. The Texans are the early favorites to win the AFC South and that puts a little less pressure on Miami should the Dolphins be looking at another Wild Card seed.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Miami Dolphins

If the Miami Dolphins are going to make the playoffs in 2024, one key matchup could determine a Wild Card spot. The Jaguars will be chasing the Texans in 2024 and the loser of the AFC South will be hoping for a Wild Card berth.

The Dolphins, should they not take the AFC East, should also be contending. That makes this game more important. The Jaguars will head South down I-95 this year to play the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. This could be one of the most important games of the season.

Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns

When the Miami Dolphins travel north to face the Cleveland Browns, it could have significant ramifications late in the season. The Browns are not favored to win the AFC North - the Baltimore Ravens are the team to beat there.

The Dolphins won't have to face the Ravens in the regular season this year. The Browns, Ravens, and Steelers will all be fighting for the AFC North title and then battle it out for a Wild Card spot. Of course, there is also the Bengals who will have a healthy Joe Burrow back. The AFC North is going to be a battle from the start and like Miami, winning key out-of-division games will be paramount for all of those teams.

Las Vegas Raiders at Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins will play only one team from the AFC West this year, and it could be a vital game for the postseason. It will be an interesting season for the "Wild Wild 'AFC West'" in 2024. The Chiefs have ruled that division for years now, and the Chargers haven't come close to challenging it. This year, the Chiefs will be as close as a lock to win the division once more.

If the Chiefs win the division, the Raiders and Chargers will battle for a Wild Card spot. The Dolphins won't play the Chargers, and the Broncos are not expected to be contenders this year. Beating the Raiders could help the Dolphins at the end of the season.

The Bills will play the Chiefs in the regular season and the Jets will get the Chargers. Their records will be important for the tie-breaking procedures in the AFC East, but for the Wild Card, having even a small head-to-head advantage makes a difference.