Miami Dolphins' schedule 2020: Tough schedule looms for Tua

The Dolphins' biggest can't-miss game on the 2020 schedule (0:54)

Cameron Wolfe is intrigued by a potential matchup between Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins against Joe Burrow and the Bengals late in the season. (0:54)

The Miami Dolphins' schedule for 2020, the NFL's third-hardest schedule, was released Thursday.

The regular season kicks off with the Houston Texans visiting the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, Sept. 10 (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC). The opening doubleheader for Monday Night Football will feature the Pittsburgh Steelers at the New York Giants (7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN) and the Tennessee Titans at the Denver Broncos (10:20 p.m. ET) on Monday, Sept. 14.

Check out the full week-by-week schedule here. Here's what is in store for the Dolphins:

Game-by-game prediction

Dolphins reporter Cameron Wolfe is predicting a 7-9 finish:

Sept. 13: at New England, Loss

Sept. 20: vs. Buffalo, Loss

Sept. 24: at Jacksonville, Win

Oct. 4: vs. Seattle, Loss

Oct. 11: at San Francisco, Loss

Oct. 18: at Denver, Loss

Oct. 25: vs. L.A. Chargers, Win

Nov. 1: vs. L.A. Rams, Loss

Nov. 8: at Arizona, Loss

Nov. 15: vs. N.Y. Jets, Win

Nov. 22: BYE

Nov. 29: at N.Y. Jets, Win

Dec. 6: vs. Cincinnati, Win

Dec. 13: vs. Kansas City, Loss

Dec. 20: vs. New England, Win

Dec. 27: at Las Vegas, Win

Jan. 3: at Buffalo, Loss

Strength of schedule: 3rd, .529


In Year 2 of their rebuild, the Dolphins have their work cut out for them if they want to make a surprise playoff run. They start with four of their first six games on the road, including back-to-back road games against the 49ers and Broncos and an opener in Foxborough, Massachusetts, against the new-look Patriots. Miami ends the season with games against four teams that went a combined 41-23 in 2019, including three playoff teams and the Super Bowl champion Chiefs. A January contest in snowy Buffalo is never an easy way to end the season, either. Miami will have to get fat in the middle of its schedule, and its final record might not fully represent the Year 1 to Year 2 progress.

West Coast worries

The Dolphins have the third-most difficult schedule based on 2019 opponent records, and a big reason why is a schedule rotation that has Miami facing the AFC West and NFC West. That means four non-divisional games against West teams that made the playoffs last season, including both Super Bowl teams. We should learn what the Dolphins are made of during an Oct. 4-Nov. 8 period in which Miami plays six consecutive games against teams from the West. A Christmas weekend date in Las Vegas looms late in the season as well. Miami's 24,424 miles traveled will be the sixth most in 2020, and second most of any team not in the Pacific time zone.

Marquee games

The Dolphins have one of the most marketable young NFL players in rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, but the league wants Miami to earn its respect with its lone prime-time game: a Week 3 Thursday night game at Jacksonville. That doesn't mean there aren't marquee games, as Joe Burrow's Bengals come to Miami to face off with the Dolphins on Dec. 6. That is Miami's 12th game, which means we could see the Burrow vs. Tagovailoa rivalry kick off in the NFL then. That will be fun. The Dolphins also host the Chargers on Oct. 25, which could pit the No. 5 draft pick (Tagovailoa) and No. 6 pick (Justin Herbert) with plenty of storylines there. The Dolphins also host Patrick Mahomes' Chiefs and Russell Wilson's Seahawks, an up-close look at two of football's best QBs.