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Miami Dolphins 2020 Schedule Analysis

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

In the age of the Coronavirus, the NFL found a way to keep Free Agency and the NFL Draft on schedule. Speaking of schedules, we are one step closer to having an NFL season in 2020 as the league has released the full 2020 schedule.

Expectations were low for the Miami Dolphins in 2019, as many projected the team to be the worst in the league. The Dolphins are much improved this year and are expected to be competitive in 2020.

After an aggressive free agency period where the Dolphins added top free agents like Byron Jones; and an NFL Draft where Miami selected three players in the 1st round including Tua Tagovailoa, there is a new excitement surrounding the Miami Dolphins! 

Let’s take a look at each matchup.

Week 1 Season Opener – Sunday Sept. 13, 2020 1:00pm

Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots
What a great way to start the season.

The Brady and Belichick era got rolling in 2001, once Bill Belichick had given the reigns to Brady. Since then, the Patriots have won the division every year with the exception of two years. Over that same span, the Patriots have finished no worse than 2nd in the division and had no less than nine wins. The Patriots are also unbeatable in Gillette Stadium, after setting multiple records for wins by a team on their home field.

However, this is a new Miami and a different Patriots team. The Dolphins ended their 2019 regular season with a 24-27 victory on the road at Gillette Stadium. This gave Miami the first win in the stadium since 2008. This was also the first game for Flores back in New England since leaving them to take the head coaching job in Miami. It ultimately became Tom Brady’s last regular-season game as a Patriot. 

The Dolphins are going into Foxboro looking to start this season the same way they ended the last one; beating the Patriots on the road.

Week 2 Home Opener – Sunday Sept. 20, 2020 1:00pm

Miami Dolphins vs Buffalo Bills

The Dolphins have always been difficult to beat in the September heat of South Florida. Miami gets an early shot to use that home-field advantage against a team from up north.

The Bills are currently being talked about as the favorites to win the AFC East. They have made it to the playoffs in two of the last three years with Sean McDermott as the head coach. In 2019, the Dolphins lost to the Bills in Hard Rock Stadium 37-20.

However, The Bills allowed more than 250 passing yards in each of their two games against Dolphins in 2019. The Bills allowed fewer than 250 pass yards against every other team that year. 

Miami will look to duplicate the strong performance of DeVante Parker who was the first receiver to gain over 100 yards receiving against the 2019 Bills. The Dolphins will also be using a more balanced attack behind an improved offensive line and the addition of running backs Jordan Howard and Matt Breida. Meanwhile, the Bills will be looking to continue their ascension in the AFC East behind their young quarterback Josh Allen going into his third year. 

Week 3 TNF Primetime – Thurs. September 24, 2020 8:20pm

Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars

The Miami Dolphins are making the case for the most improved team this offseason. On the other hand, the Jaguars might be on the opposite spectrum of that statement. The team has traded quarterback Nick Foles and defensive end Calais Campbell. Yannick Ngakoue’s situation is in limbo also. The Jacksonville Jaguars went 6-10 last season and are not projected to be strong this year. With that said the Dolphins showed everyone last season that projections in the NFL are usually wrong. In an alternate universe, the Dolphins are on a two-game losing streak against the Jaguars and will look to put an end to that streak in a Thursday night prime time.

Week 4 – Sunday October 4, 2020 1:00pm

Miami Dolphins vs Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks finished 2019 with 11 wins behind the strength of their offense and franchise quarterback Russell Wilson. The Seahawks were ranked 12th in passing yards, 4th in rushing yards, and 6th in total yards per game. This is going to be a tough but exciting matchup for Miami. The new-look defense will be put to the test in this game. Miami also benefits from this being a home game and not having to contend with the 12th man in Seattle.

Week 5 – Sunday October 11, 2020 4:05pm

Miami Dolphins @ San Francisco 49ers

This season will undoubtedly let the Dolphins know where they stand and what further changes will be required in the future. Not only are they facing off against the reigning Super Bowl Champs this season, but they also go up against the runner-ups; the San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers finished 2nd  behind the Baltimore Ravens in total rushing yards last season. The Dolphins were near the bottom of the league in defending the run.

The 49ers are expected to continue to be a strong rushing team. The Dolphins have made moves to be better against the run. This game will provide some insight into that. The Dolphins also looked to the 49ers to improve their own running game. Miami traded a 5th round pick for Breida during this year’s draft. The Dolphins plan to pair Breida with also newly acquired running back Jordan Howard. 

Week 6 – Sunday October 18, 2020 4:05pm

Miami Dolphins @ Denver Broncos

Miami will travel to one of the most difficult places to play football. Mile High Stadium, home of the Denver Broncos presents its own unique set of challenges. This is the second of back to back road games.

The Denver Broncos stocked up on weapons in the draft to help out there young quarterback Drew Lock. Broncos drafted former Tua Tagovailoa teammate Jerry Jeudy in the 1st round and K.J. Hamler in the 2nd round. The Dolphins have not played the Broncos in Denver since 2014, losing that matchup 36-39.

Week 7 – Sunday October 25, 2020 1:00pm

Miami Dolphins vs Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers selected Oregon Quarterback Justin Herbert as the eventual replacement for Phillip Rivers. Herbert was selected just one pick after the Dolphins selection of Tagovailoa. The dream matchup would be to see Justin Herbert lead the Chargers against Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins. This dream might not be a reality this year though as neither Tua or Herbert are guaranteed to start for their respective teams.

The Dolphins currently lead the series 10 – 4 at home against the Chargers.

Week 8 – Sunday November 1, 2020 1:00pm

Miami Dolphins vs Los Angeles Rams

The Dolphins will play back to back home games against the teams from Los Angeles. The Rams have been rolling since Sean McVay took over in 2017. They have won the NFC West three out of the last four years. The team took a step back last season only winning nine games, one year removed from losing the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots.

The Rams will be looking to get things back on track this season. Todd Gurley fell from grace with the team as he battled injuries leading to inconsistent play. The Rams drafted Cam Akers to add that dimension back to the team. The Dolphins will also use this game as a measuring stick against a team that was able to rise from mediocrity with a new coach and a young quarterback.

The Dolphins have an excellent history against the Rams. Miami leads the regular-season series between the two teams 11-2 and 5-1 at home.

Week 9 – Sunday November 8, 2020 4:25pm

Miami Dolphins @ Arizona Cardinals

If an argument can be made for a team that has improved more than the Miami Dolphins it would be Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals traded for top wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins has collected 8,602 yards and 54 TDs since entering the league in 2013. The Cardinals also drafted the most versatile linebacker in the draft, Isiah Simmons from Clemson. 

The Dolphins traded Kenyan Drake to the Cardinals last season and he is performing well in that offense with 7 TDs in five games.

The Dolphins have former Cardinals 1st round pick quarterback Josh Rosen on their roster. Rosen is not projected to be the starter for Miami, but if by some twist of fate he gets to play in this game, then things get that much more interesting. The Cardinals moved on from Rosen just one year after drafting him in order to go with Kyler Murray as their starter. Either way, this matchup will be between two teams that believe to be on the rise in the NFL. 

Week 10 – Sunday November 15, 2020 4:05pm

Miami Dolphins vs New York Jets

After starting last season 0-7, the Dolphins’ first win came against the New York Jets at home. Jets fans started making a plea to fire Gase following their performance, however, both teams got on track following that game. The Jets went on to win six of their next eight games after that loss. That game meant something to Gase and the Jets and he will be looking to stick it to the former team that fired him in favor of Brian Flores. 

Another storyline behind this game will be the return of Miami native, former University of Miami and Miami Dolphins running back Frank Gore.

Gore was a fan favorite during his time as a Dolphin because of the Miami connection. He played well in his short stint here also. The fan reception to Frank Gore will be something to watch as he uses the AFC East for his farewell tour. 

Week 11 – Bye Week November 22, 2020

Week 12 – Sunday November 29, 2020 4:05pm

Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets

No matter how the first matchup between the Jets and the Dolphins goes, they won’t have to wait long for the rematch. Miami will travel to New York to face the Jets following the bye week.

Jason Sanders was the player of the game when these two teams met in New York last season. Sanders set a franchise record for field goals made in a season with seven. Unfortunately for the Dolphins these field goals accounted for all of their points. The Dolphins lost the game 21-22. This time around the Dolphins will be looking to find the end zone.

Week 13 – Sunday December 6, 2020 1:00pm

Miami Dolphins vs Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals selected Joe Burrow over Tua Tagovailoa with the 1st overall pick in this year’s draft. Tua fell to Miami at 5. This game has the opportunity to be a matchup between the two top quarterbacks in this year’s draft. Burrow is penciled in as the starter in Cincinnati. Tua’s playing status is a little bit more unclear, as is possible he may not see the field this year in the regular season.

Even if there is a quarterback other than Tua Tagovailoa under center for Miami, this will still be a must-see matchup. This will be the first time for Miami to see Burrow up close as a member of the Bengals.

These two teams faced off in Miami’s last home game in 2019. The Bengals entered the game with 1 win. The Dolphins had control of this game until the final minutes of the fourth quarter. The Bengals railed making this game exciting and sending it to overtime. The Dolphins survived, coming out with a 35-38 victory guaranteeing the number one draft spot for Cincinnati.

Week 14 – Sunday December 13, 2020 1:00pm

Miami Dolphins vs Kansas City Chiefs

The defending Super Bowl Champs will be returning to the stadium where they won Super Bowl LIV. This team has a high powered offense and a stout defense that gets overlooked because of the flashy offense. Kansas City re-signed the majority of their key free agents and also added more talent in the draft. 

This Dolphins versus Chiefs matchup will be a measuring stick on how much the Dolphins have progressed since embarking on this latest rebuild.

Emmanuel Ogbah was signed by the Miami Dolphins in free agency and he should be fired up for this game. Before suffering a torn-pectoral that forced him to miss the remainder of the season, Ogbah was in the midst of a career year, totaling 32 tackles and 5.5 sacks in just 10 games for the Chiefs. This will be an opportunity for Ogbah to unleash on his former team. 

Week 15 – Sunday December 20, 2020 1:00pm

Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots

Miami will enjoy three straight home games entering this game. Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts, and Ted Karras will have the spotlight on them in this game. This will be their first game suiting up as Miami Dolphin in front of the home crowd (assuming fans are in the stands) against their former team. The Dolphins were embarrassed at home losing 43-0 in week two last season. 

A lot has changed since then. Above and beyond the defections to Miami, many other faces on defense have left the Patriots for other teams. On offense, Antonio Brown was a member of the Patriots at that time and had a big game. Add Brown to the list of big names that are gone since the last time these teams faced off at Hard Rock Stadium.

The Dolphins have a history of getting the best of the Patriots in Miami. The tradition is expected to get back on track with this game. The Dolphins also benefit from not having to play a cold-weather game against New England ate in the season.

Christmas in Vegas Week 16 – Sat Dec 26 or Sun Dec 27

Miami Dolphins @ Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders have been building their new team under head coach Jon Gruden. They now have a new stadium and city to go with it. The Dolphins will travel to sin city to take on the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders have improved each year under Gruden winning four games his first year and seven last year. The team also added University of Alabama star Henry Ruggs III with the 12th pick, making him the first wide receiver to be drafted this year. 

The series record between the Raiders and Dolphins could not get any closer. In 35 games the two teams are tied up at 17-17-1. This game will be the ultimate tiebreaker. Unless this game also ends up in a tie.

Week 17 Season Finale – Sunday January 3, 2020 1:00pm

Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills

Buffalo is always a tough place to play. An early January game only makes things tougher as the Dolphins will have to travel up north to play a cold-weather game. Miami played the Bills well last season in their house leading 14 to 9 going into the 4th quarter. The Dolphins did not have enough firepower to hang on though. The Bills outscored the Dolphins 22 to 7 in the 4th quarter to secure the 31-21 victory.

The Dolphins retooled their defense to avoid a repeat of that 4th quarter collapse. A key addition to that defense is former Bills 1st round pick, Shaq Lawson. This is a revenge game for Lawson, as he will look to show up his old team for letting him walk in Free Agency. 

For more Miami Dolphins Football, like us on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @TheJamieBahamas

Lead Writer for primarily covering the Miami Dolphins. Jamie is a lifelong sports fan and a student of the game. Jamie religiously attends Dolphins Home Games and considers Miami the coolest city on the planet. You can follow Jamie on Twitter @TheJamieBahamas and Instagram @JamieBahamas

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