Last Word on Pro Football is ranking each teams easiest and hardest games on the 2017 schedule. The Miami Dolphins were just outside the top ten toughest strength of schedule in 2016 and the road only gets harder. This year, their schedule ranks as the sixth hardest in the league, trailing the Broncos, Raiders, Chargers, Chiefs, and Bills. Funny enough, the Dolphins are playing all five of these teams and face both teams from last year’s super bowl. With this said, here are the Miami Dolphins most difficult games in 2017
Miami Dolphins Most Difficult Games in 2017
1. Week 6: at Atlanta Falcons
The reigning NFC champions will be bringing back the NFL’s second-best overall offense that nearly took the unstoppable Patriots. They are led by the league’s third-best quarterback in Matt Ryan, who was in the MVP discussion this season. He led the season in passer rating and threw for over 309 yards per game. His touchdown to interception ratio was 38 touchdowns to seven interceptions, which could cause problems for the 12th ranked Miami pass-defense. Miami’s pass defense could struggle guarding the second-best receiver in the NFL, Julio Jones, alongside Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel.
2. Week 8: at Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens made easy work of the Dolphins last year by the score of 38-6. This came after a shocking six-game Dolphins winning streak. Though the Dolphins will be seeking revenge after a lopsided game, the Ravens will be boasting a top ten defense. This defense especially thrives against the run, which is a huge component of the Dolphins offense, with running back Jay Ajayi. The run defense was ranked fifth and is spearheaded by inside linebacker Terrell Suggs.
3. Week 9: vs Oakland Raiders
This game will come directly after a tough battle against Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens. Though the Dolphins will have extra preparation days, the Raiders have one of the most efficient offenses in the NFL. This Raiders offense is led by two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Derek Carr, who threw for about 4,000 yards. His offense that averaged over 27 points a game can cause havoc for a pass-defense that ranked 15th in the league in 2016.
4. Week 10: at Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers will rebound after a disappointing 6-10 season. One of the main reasons was due to Cam Newton‘s shoulder injury that took him out for half the season. Another significant injury came to Pro-Bowl middle-linebacker Luke Kuechly who went under concussion protocol after week 10. Though he was cleared, he never returned to the field and the organization felt it was safe to stay cautious. Now with those two healthy, the defense should improve and Newton’s confidence should slowly rebuild to his 2015 self. The organization has also added another tool in standout Stanford alum, Christian McCaffrey, who is turning heads and gaining high reviews from his teammates in training camp.
5. Week 12: at New England
New England is led by the greatest quarterback of all-time in Tom Brady, who has never lost to the Dolphins at home. The last time the Patriots dropped a game against Miami in Foxborough came against the wrath of budding quarterback Chad Pennington. He threw for over 226 yards on 17/20 passing, posting a QBR that day of 94.5. This was balanced with the rushing tandem of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, who combined for over 210 yards on the ground.
6. Week 13: vs Denver Broncos.
The Denver Broncos have been rated a top-five defense in the league for the past three years. They are led by five time Pro-Bowl linebacker, Von Miller, who has averaged over 12 sacks per year in his career. This defense with Pro-Bowl corners Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr, will make easy pickings off the Dolphins backup quarterbacks. Though they have an average offense, it will rely heavily on its defense to set them up in good field position. Their offense will be able to produce decent drives that will put them in field-goal range and score points in bunches.
7. Week 14: vs New England Patriots
This game becomes difficult if the Patriots still need it to clinch its anticipated number one seed. This is important because it allows them to have home-field advantage for the entire playoffs. Belichick knows how critical to have the Foxboro fans cheering them on and providing crowd noise during the playoffs. The players feed off that energy and will play at 110 percent. Another issue is that if Matt Moore is the starter, he did not bode well in his last outing. He fumbled the ball once and threw an interception, leading to a 35-14 rout by the Patriots.
8. Week 16: at Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs have been playoff contenders in the last two years and reached the divisional game in 2015 against the Patriots. Despite the departure of top wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, they discovered a diamond in the rough with Tyreek Hill. Hill showed his electric speed in delivering two touchdown runs of at least 68 yards in the final three games. Their defense took a back seat in 2016, ranking 26th in the NFL in yards allowed. This year they have acquired the necessary tools to drastically improve the defensive line and pressure. This off-season, they acquired defensive tackle Bennie Logan, who excels at stopping the run and commanding double-teams. The Chiefs were also impressed by the play of rookie defensive tackle Chris Jones, who was strong in one-on-one situations.
Be sure and check out the eight easiest games on the 2017 Miami Dolphins schedule.