The NFL is expected to release its 2017 regular-season schedule later this week, and the Miami Dolphins have a stacked schedule full of intriguing possibilities to open in Week 1.
Miami’s strength of schedule is higher this year after a 10-6, second-place finish in the AFC East. It involves three games total against last year’s Super Bowl teams. Let’s take a look at three possibilities.
No. 1: at New England Patriots
Why: Although the Boston Globe is reporting the Kansas City Chiefs are the favorites to kick off the 2017 season against New England, why not the Dolphins? This is an AFC East rivalry and Miami is the closest team to challenging the Patriots within the division. Dolphins Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry upped the ante last week by saying they will sweep the reigning Super Bowl champions this year. That’s a very bold prediction. There is enough juice in this game -- no pun intended -- to make for an interesting league opener on Thursday night. Also, the Dolphins in recent years have had more success playing New England early in the season than later in the season, especially on the road when weather isn’t a factor.
No. 2: at Atlanta Falcons
Why: Looking for another significant measuring stick in Week 1? Look no further than the other Super Bowl representative from the NFC. The Dolphins believe they are playoff material for a second year in a row. Playing Atlanta, on the road, to start the season would be a good chance to prove it right away. The Dolphins would be sizable underdogs against Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Co. in this first game. In addition to coming off a Super Bowl appearance, the Falcons would be opening a new stadium. But a potential Week 1 upset in Atlanta would do wonders for jump-starting Miami’s season and immediately put the Dolphins in “contender” status.
No. 3: vs. Tennessee Titans
Why: You have to throw a possible home game in the mix somewhere. Although Dolphins-Titans won’t perk up the casual football fans, well-informed fans are aware this is a good matchup of young, up-and-coming teams with plenty of similarities. Both Miami and Tennessee have ascending quarterbacks entering their prime in Ryan Tannehill and Marcus Mariota. Both have power running games with physical running backs to protect those quarterbacks. Both finished last year with winning records and will challenge for playoff spots in a competitive AFC conference. Tennessee also steamrolled the Dolphins in Miami last year, 30-17, which adds an element of revenge.