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Miami Dolphins 2020 Schedule Breakdown

The opponents for the new football season were known at the conclusion of the 2019 season. Today, we learn the order in which the 16-game slate will play out for Year 2 of Brian Flores' Dolphins tenure.

Every year, for each team, the schedule comes with built-in advantages and disadvantages. Short weeks, extended road trips and cold weather games serve as the latter while the September Miami heat, lengthy homestands and playing opponents on a quick turnaround can benefit the Dolphins.

Still, accurately previewing any individual game must be reserved for the week of the contest. Injury reports, unexpected developments, weather and more add up to a long list of variables that can impact a given matchup.

Here, we'll detail the key facts for each of Miami's 16 games and what makes each showdown uniquely intriguing.

Offensive and defensive ranks denote scoring ranking.

Week 1 @ New England Patriots – September 13, 1:00 PM CBS

2019 Record: 12-4 (AFC Wildcard Round Exit)

2019 Offensive Rank: 7th

2019 Defensive Rank: 1st

Key Veteran Additions: DT Beau Allen, S Adrian Phillips

2020 First-Round Draft Pick: None (Kyle Duggar selected 37th overall)

The Dolphins kickoff the new season in the same place the 2019 campaign ended with a signature victory. Eric Rowe snagged the first ever Dolphins pick-six at Gillette Stadium, capping off a successful switch from cornerback to safety. The Week 6 conversion that put Rowe on more backs and tight ends resulted in a completion-allowed-rate of just 53.3 percent over the final 12 games.

New England retained prized guard Joe Thuney on a franchise tag and extended the ever-dependable Devin McCourty at safety, but a lot of old faces are in new places. Three of those departures arrived in Miami as LB Kyle Van Noy, LB Elandon Roberts, and C Ted Karras meet their former team for the first time.

The win in the 2019 finale the Dolphins' first win in New England since the Wildcat Game in 2008.

Week 2 vs. Buffalo Bills – September 20, 1:00 PM CBS (Home Opener)

2019 Record: 10-6 (AFC Wildcard Round Exit)

2019 Offensive Rank: 23rd

2019 Defensive Rank: 2nd

Key Veteran Additions: WR Stefon Diggs, DT Vernon Butler, CB Josh Norman

2020 First-Round Draft Pick: None (DE A.J. Epenesa selected 54th overall)

Beginning the season with a second-straight divisional game, Miami looks to turn its recent fortunes against rival Buffalo. The Bills swept the season series in 2019 with wins in five of the last six versus the Dolphins.

Miami focused its offseason approach on the offensive line with two free agent additions and three draft picks. The added beef up front could combat a second-ranked Bills defense that sacked Ryan Fitzpatrick nine times with 43 total quarterback pressures in two games last season.

The Dolphins are 35-20-1 all-time at home against the Bills but the two have split the last six meetings at Hard Rock Stadium with three wins a piece.

Week 3 @ Jacksonville Jaguars – (Thursday) September 24, 8:20 PM NFL Network

2019 Record: 6-10 (No playoffs)

2019 Offensive Rank: 26th

2019 Defensive Rank: 21st

Key Veteran Additions: LB Joe Schobert, TE Tyler Eifert, CB Rashaan Melvin

2020 First-Round Draft Picks: CB C.J. Henderson, DE K'Lavon Chaisson

The only primetime game on this year's schedule puts the Dolphins on the road — on a short week — with a quick trip upstate to Jacksonville.

These teams faced off two seasons ago, but both are almost unrecognizable from those 2018 campaigns. Two of the youngest teams in football square off for the ninth time with the series split evenly at four wins each. Most of the parts from the Jags' 2017 AFC Championship Game team are elsewhere while only 16 members of Miami's 2018 team are on the 2020 roster.

Gardner Minshew came off the bench in relief of the injured Nick Foles in Week 1 and sparked the in-state rival of the Jaguars into a national phenomenon. Minshew creates magic with a slew of young wideouts, but an offensive line that allowed 241 pressures last season.

The Dolphins lost in its last visit to Northern Florida on a buzzer-beating field goal in Week 2 of the 2015 season.

Week 4 vs. Seattle Seahawks – October 4, 1:00 PM FOX

2019 Record: 11-5 (NFC Divisional Round Exit)

2019 Offensive Rank: 9th

2019 Defensive Rank: 23rd

Key Veteran Additions: TE Greg Olsen, CB Quinton Dunbar, OT Cedric Ogbuehi, WR Phillip Dorsett, C B.J. Finney

2020 First-Round Draft Pick: LB Jordyn Brooks

Miami gets a pair of benefits facing a tough Seattle team. First, an extra three days to prepare coming off the Thursday game. Second, welcoming a west coast team traveling east. Teams making the trek from Pacific or Mountain time zones to play the early kickoff in the Eastern time zone have traditionally struggled. From 2003-2018, west coast teams went 80-133 in games that kicked off at 1 PM Eastern.

Russell Wilson makes his second visit to Hard Rock Stadium and the first since his rookie season. Wilson and the Seahawks lost that game on a last-second field goal, but returned the favor when Miami visited the Pacific Northwest in 2016 with a game-winning touchdown drive in the waning moments.

Seattle has been a picture of consistency with trips to the postseason in all but one of Wilson's eight years as a pro. Head Coach Pete Carroll makes no mystery of the Seahawks identity – Seattle ranked third and second the last two years in rushing attempts. The Dolphins added several integral parts to fortify its run defense with Shaq Lawson, Emmanuel Ogbah, Elandon Roberts, Kyle Van Noy, Kamu Grugier-Hill in free agency and Raekwon Davis, Jason Strowbridge and Curtis Weaver in the draft.

Seattle's last win in Miami was on October 6, 1996. The Dolphins lead the all-time series 10-5 (includes three playoff games).

Week 5 @ San Francisco 49ers – October 11, 4:05 PM FOX

2019 Record: 13-3 (NFC Champions)

2019 Offensive Rank: 2nd

2019 Defensive Rank: 8th

Key Veteran Additions: OT Trent Williams, WR Travis Benjamin

2020 First-Round Draft Picks: DL Javon Kinlaw, WR Brandon Aiyuk

The Dolphins make their first ever trip to Levi's Stadium to take on the defending NFC Champions. Kyle Shanahan continues to generate the most creative, innovative and effective run game in football as the Niners finished second in the NFL in total rushing yardage.

San Francisco will see its second-leading back on the opposite sideline as Matt Breida was sent to Miami on draft day for a fifth-round pick. The 49ers' zone-heavy concepts meet an intriguing matchup as Miami got longer and stronger on the outside with the additions of Shaq Lawson and Emmanuel Ogbah in free agency. Shanahan beefed up his receiving corps with first-rounder Brandon Aiyuk and used the pick that came back in the DeForest Buckner trade on South Carolina bull-in-a-china-shop defensive tackle, Javon Kinlaw.

This is the first meeting between these teams since Miami's goal line stand against Colin Kaepernick propelled the Dolphins to a sixth-consecutive win in 2016. Miami leads the all-time series 7-6 including a matchup in Super Bowl XIX.

Week 6 @ Denver Broncos – October 18, 4:05 PM CBS

2019 Record: 7-9 (No playoffs)

2019 Offensive Rank: 28th

2019 Defensive Rank: 10th

Key Veteran Additions: DT Jurrell Casey, CB A.J. Bouye, RB Melvin Gordon, OL Graham Glasgow, TE Nick Vannett

2020 First-Round Draft Pick: WR Jerry Jeudy

The Dolphins continue a west coast swing with a trip to the Rocky Mountains. Drew Lock took over the Broncos offense last year in the month of December. Denver improved by 5.5 points per game in the rookie's starts, giving John Elway confidence to build the team around the young gunslinger. Denver bulked up on offense in hopes of improving upon that 28th league-rank in scoring.

Already a top 10 defense, Miami will have its hands full with a Broncos unit that got stronger in the trenches. Jurrell Casey spent the first nine years of his career in Tennessee where he averaged 51 quarterback pressures per year over the last seven seasons.

Miami leads the all-time series with 12 wins, six losses and one draw. The last trip to Denver featured a 2014 shootout between Peyton Manning and Ryan Tannehill as the Broncos prevailed 39-36 among the offensive fireworks.

Week 7 vs. Los Angeles Chargers – October 25, 1:00 PM CBS

2019 Record: 5-11 (No playoffs)

2019 Offensive Rank: 21st

2019 Defensive Rank: 14th

Key Veteran Additions: CB Chris Harris Jr., DT Linval Joseph, OG Trai Turner, LB Nick Vigil

2020 First-Round Draft Picks: QB Justin Herbert, LB Kenneth Murray

For the second time in the first seven games, Miami welcomes a west coast opponent for a 1:00 PM kickoff. It's a new era for the Chargers. For the first time since 2005, they will start a quarterback not named Philip Rivers. The incumbent veteran is a familiar face to Dolphins fans in former Bills starter Tyrod Taylor, while his challenger is a rookie that was heavily tied to Miami during the draft process in Oregon's Justin Herbert.

On the other side of the ball, these two teams feature two of the league's more multiple stop-units. Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley uses 2018 first-round pick Derwin James to alter personnel without requiring substitutions, while Brian Flores' defense is being constructed under the core tenant of versatility. James missed 11 games last year, contributing to the drop in defensive ranking from eighth in 2018 to 14th last season.

Miami had an eight-game home winning streak over the Chargers snapped last September in a 30-10 defeat. The win was the first for the Chargers in South Florida since the 1982 overtime playoff classic.

Week 8 vs. Los Angeles Rams – November 1, 1:00 PM FOX

2019 Record: 9-7 (No playoffs)

2019 Offensive Rank: 11th

2019 Defensive Rank: 17th

Key Veteran Additions: LB Leonard Floyd, DT A'Shawn Robinson

2020 First-Round Draft Pick: None (RB Cam Akers selected 52nd overall)

Coming east for the early kickoff means the road team is playing a 10 AM body clock game. It's not an insurmountable obstacle, but with the home team winning 62.4 percent of these games between 2003-2018 the initial advantage is tangible.

Merely 15 months ago, Sean McVay's offense went up against a defense coordinated by Brian Flores in the Super Bowl. Less than 24 hours later, Brian Flores was named the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. The Rams offense has a lot of new parts, but the quarterback remains the same. Jared Goff makes his second career start against the Dolphins after kicking off his career in 2016 against Miami.

No offense operates out of 11-personnel (one RB, one TE) more since McVay's 2017 arrival. Utilizing three receivers and a lot of bunch and tight sets, the Dolphins man-heavy defense will have a big challenge. The Dolphins added Byron Jones, Noah Igbinoghene and Brandon Jones among others this offseason to assist veterans like Xavien Howard, Bobby McCain and Eric Rowe in the defensive backfield.

The Dolphins are 11-2 all-time against the Rams including a 5-1 mark at home. The Rams' only win in South Florida came all the way back in 1976.

Week 9 @ Arizona Cardinals – November 8, 4:25 PM CBS

2019 Record: 5-10-1 (No playoffs)

2019 Offensive Rank: 17th

2019 Defensive Rank: 28th

Key Veteran Additions: WR DeAndre Hopkins, LB Devon Kennard, DT Jordan Phillips, LB De'Vondre Campbell

2020 First-Round Draft Pick: LB Isaiah Simmons

Miami gets its first look at Kliff Kingsbury's spread offense and 2019 No. 1 overall pick, Kyler Murray. Arizona went from one of the league's least-productive offenses in 2018 to a unit full of explosive plays out of the rookie quarterback last season.

The Cardinals loaded up this spring with a marquee wide receiver acquisition of DeAndre Hopkins. He last faced Miami in 2018 as a member of the Houston Texans and caught six of seven passes for 82 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Dolphins matched the Cardinals' prized offseason signing with one of their own in cornerback Byron Jones. The two faced off in 2018 with Hopkins catching four of five targets for 73 yards.

The Dolphins lead the all-time series 9-3 with a 4-2 mark in road games against the Cardinals.

Week 10 vs. New York Jets – November 15, 4:05 PM CBS

2019 Record: 7-9 (No playoffs)

2019 Offensive Rank: 31st

2019 Defensive Rank: 16th

Key Veteran Additions: OT George Fant, WR Breshad Perriman, OG Greg Van Roten, CB Pierre Desir, C Connor McGovern, RB Frank Gore, LB Patrick Onwuasor

2020 First-Round Draft Pick: OT Mekhi Becton

The first of two consecutive games with the Jets -- split with the bye week -- concludes the season series and four of the Dolphins' divisional games prior to December.

Winners of six of the last eight against the Jets overall, the all-time series remains tight. The Jets have a two-game advantage (55-53-1) on the Dolphins despite Miami's recent success against its AFC East foe.

Quarterback Sam Darnold is 1-3 in his career against the Dolphins. The Miami defense has generated eight takeaways and 11 sacks in the four contests against the USC product. Both teams added significant parts to the trenches this offseason giving this matchup even more intrigue, with shades of the classic rivalry reigniting.

The Dolphins have won four straight home games dating back to 2016 against the rival Jets. Head Coach Adam Gase seeks his first victory at Hard Rock Stadium since December 2018 when he was the Dolphins' head coach.

Week 11 Bye Week

Week 12 @ New York Jets – November 29, 1:00 PM CBS

2019 Record: 7-9 (No playoffs)

2019 Offensive Rank: 31st

2019 Defensive Rank: 16th

Key Veteran Additions: OT George Fant, WR Breshad Perriman, OG Greg Van Roten, CB Pierre Desir, C Connor McGovern, RB Frank Gore, LB Patrick Onwuasor

2020 First-Round Draft Pick: OT Mekhi Becton

Miami returns to MetLife Stadium after a tight contest in 2019 that saw four lead changes in the final seven minutes. Ultimately the Jets won the game on a 44-yard field goal as time expired.

This year, the Dolphins have reloaded in the defensive secondary. Xavien Howard missed both games last year against the Jets but was lockdown in the two 2018 matchups. In his last two games against the Jets, Howard limited New York receivers to just five catches on 12 targets with no touchdowns, an interception and two pass breakups.

The Dolphins trail the all-time series in road games against the Jets with a 24-30 record.

Week 13 vs. Cincinnati Bengals – December 6, 1:00 PM CBS

2019 Record: 2-14 (No playoffs)

2019 Offensive Rank: 30th

2019 Defensive Rank: 25th

Key Veteran Additions: S Von Bell, CB Trae Waynes, CB Mackensie Alexander, DT D.J. Reader, G Xavier Su'a-Filo

2020 First-Round Draft Pick: QB Joe Burrow

Three days before Christmas, the Dolphins and Bengals played one of the year's most exhilarating games. Miami jumped out to a 35-12 lead but needed overtime to capture victory as the Bengals scored 16 points in the final 33 seconds of regulation. Both teams made considerable additions to the roster in free agency and the draft, including the top two quarterbacks selected in Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa.

Last year, Ryan Fitzpatrick enjoyed a career day with 419 passing yards and four touchdowns, including the second-most yards in any given half in team history. DeVante Parker led the way with 111 receiving yards and Mike Gesicki caught two touchdowns.

Miami is 17-7 all-time (playoffs included) vs. Cincinnati including a 7-2 mark at home. Both of the previous two matchups in South Florida between these AFC foes resulted in overtime victories for the home team, with Cameron Wake earning a walk-off sack back in the Halloween 2013 meeting.

Week 14 vs. Kansas City Chiefs – December 13, 1:00 PM CBS

2019 Record: 12-4 (Super Bowl LIV Champions)

2019 Offensive Rank: 5th

2019 Defensive Rank: 7th

Key Veteran Additions: OT Mike Remmers, RB DeAndre Washington

2020 First-Round Draft Pick: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire

The reigning Super Bowl champs return to the scene of the crime for the first time since Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes hoisted the franchise's first Lombardi Trophy since Super Bowl IV. The Dolphins have defeated the defending champs three of the last five years, but making it four of six will be a tall order. Mahomes surpassed Dan Marino's record for touchdown passes in his first two years as a starter with 76 deliveries to pay dirt (Marino with 68, albeit in seven fewer starts).

Miami's added arsenal of coverage specialists will be tested in this matchup. The Kansas City offense can hang points in bunches thanks to perhaps the league's best group of skill players. Travis Kelce led all tight ends in receiving yards last season with 1,229 (fourth-most regardless of position) while wide out Tyreek Hill has a combined 26 receiving touchdowns and 3,522 yards the last three years.

The Dolphins lead the all-time series 16-14 (including playoffs) including seven of the last nine at home against the Chiefs. This is the first career game against the Dolphins for Mahomes – the 2018 NFL MVP and 2019 Super Bowl MVP.

Week 15 vs. New England Patriots – December 20, 1:00 PM CBS

2019 Record: 12-4 (AFC Wildcard Round Exit)

2019 Offensive Rank: 7th

2019 Defensive Rank: 1st

Key Veteran Additions: DT Beau Allen, S Adrian Phillips

2020 First-Round Draft Pick: None (S Kyle Duggar selected 37th overall)

Pending potential veteran acquisitions, Bill Belichick will begin the post-Tom Brady era with 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham under center. Miami gets its first look at a new Patriots quarterback in Week 1, but this date marks the first game a Patriots team will play in Miami without Brady at the controls since the 2008 season.

In 2019's December meeting with the Patriots, DeVante Parker capped off a breakout season with 137 yards on eight receptions. Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore was in coverage on seven of those catches for 119 yards after holding Parker without a catch in the Week 2 matchup.

The Dolphins are 38-17 all-time at home against New England including five of the last seven at Hard Rock Stadium.

Week 16 at @ Las Vegas Raiders – December 26 or 27, Time and Network TBD

2019 Record: 7-9 (No playoffs)

2019 Offensive Rank: 24th

2019 Defensive Rank: 24th

Key Veteran Additions: LB Nick Kwiatkowski, TE Jason Witten, QB Marcus Mariota, LB Cory Littleton, WR Nelson Agholor, S Damarious Randall, S Jeff Heath, DE Carl Nassib

2020 First-Round Draft Picks: WR Henry Ruggs, CB Damon Arnette

This game has the potential to flex into the NFL Network's Saturday triple header.

Entering Year 3 of Jon Gruden's second stint with the Raiders brings about plenty of change for the team with a new city. Las Vegas got much faster in the draft with this year's 40-yard dash champion in Alabama's Henry Ruggs. The rookie deep-threat arrives in hopes of changing the Raiders offense, which ranked 29th in air yards per pass last season.

The Las Vegas offensive line is among the league's best. Derek Carr was sacked just 29 times and ranked 11th in attempts with more than 2.5 seconds to throw.

The Raiders' last visit to Miami resulted in an exhilarating Dolphins win in which the home team scored twice late in the fourth to improve to a 3-0 record. The all-time series belongs to Las Vegas with a 20-18-1 all-time mark (including four playoff games).

Week 17 @ Buffalo Bills – January 3, 1:00 PM CBS

2019 Record: 10-6 (AFC Wildcard Round Exit)

2019 Offensive Rank: 23rd

2019 Defensive Rank: 2nd

Key Veteran Additions: WR Stefon Diggs, DT Vernon Butler, CB Josh Norman

2020 First-Round Draft Pick: None (DE A.J. Epenesa selected 54th overall)

For the third time in four years, Miami concludes its season with the Buffalo Bills (two of the three played in Buffalo).

Buffalo QB Josh Allen presents a dual-threat challenge to any defense he faces. His work in the ground game has been the go-to offensive threat in four career games against Miami. Allen has 318 rushing yards and three touchdowns against the Dolphins.

The Dolphins will look to contain the Bills offense with several offseason enforcements. Shaq Lawson returns to Buffalo for the first time as an opponent; he ranked tied for 10th among all defensive ends in 2019 with 13 tackles for loss.

Miami is in search of its first victory in Orchard Park since the 2016 Christmas Eve overtime thriller.

The schedule brings us one step closer to football in the fall. Of course, Miami can still make changes from now up until the opening game on September 13, but the jersey numbers have been issued, the slate presented and virtual programs are under way.