Dolphins schedule analysis

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham Breakdown: The Miami Dolphins have the NFL's most rugged schedule based on their opponents' 2008 records. They had one of the easiest last year, facing the AFC West and NFC West, divisions that produced a combined .352 winning percentage and one winning record.

But the AFC East's non-division foes will be the AFC South and NFC South, which produced four playoff teams. The aggregate winning percentage of Miami's 2009 opponents was .594.

And so opens the Dolphins' schedule in 2009.

The first three weeks of their AFC East title defense won't be easy. They will square off with a playoff team in their first three games. The Dolphins will open at the Atlanta Falcons, then host the Indianapolis Colts on "Monday Night Football" and, despite the short week, fly cross country to play the San Diego Chargers.

Complaint department: The Dolphins better hope they have a winning record heading into December because making up ground will be challenging.

Four of their last five games will be against the New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers, a season finale that will feature linebacker Joey Porter against his old team with the playoffs potentially on the line.

Prime-time players: Miami didn't have any prime-time games last year, but will play four in 2009, three in Dolphin Stadium.

The home opener will be against the Colts on Monday night in Week 2. Three weeks later the Dolphins will host the Jets on Monday night. The Dolphins will visit the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night in Week 11 and host the Patriots on Sunday night in Week 13.

Dolphins Regular Season Schedule (All times Eastern)
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 13, at Atlanta, 1 p.m.
Week 2: Monday, Sept. 21, INDIANAPOLIS, 8:30 p.m.
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 27, at San Diego, 1:15 p.m.
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 4, BUFFALO 4:05 p.m.
Week 5: Monday, Oct. 12, N.Y. JETS, 8:30 p.m.
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 18, BYE
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 25, NEW ORLEANS, 4:15 p.m.
Week 8: Sunday, Nov. 1, at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 8, at New England, 1 p.m.
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 15, TAMPA BAY, 1 p.m.
Week 11: Thursday, Nov. 19, at Carolina, 8:20 p.m.
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 29, at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 6, NEW ENGLAND*, 8:20p
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 13, at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 20, at Tennessee, 12:00 p.m.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 27, HOUSTON, 1 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 3, PITTSBURGH, 1 p.m.