The Miami Dolphins will exit the bye week and square off against the Los Angeles Rams in a big to climb back above .500 on the season — which would be quite the impressive feat when considering that Miami was in an 0-2 hole to start the season. And as the Dolphins look to continue to bolster their standings in the wildcard race and in the AFC East alike, they’ll hold a big advantage over the leader in the AFC East in the weeks ahead.
Buffalo currently sits atop the AFC East with a 5-2 record and a win over the Dolphins already in their back pocket. That’s an advantage Miami will have the chance to neutralize when they face the Buffalo Bills in Week 17 in what will presumably be a cold, blustery football game. But between now and then, the Dolphins hold a much softer schedule than what you’ll find in Buffalo. The Bills own the NFL’s 7th most difficult schedule remaining; so gimme wins aren’t going to be easy to come by.
Meanwhile, Miami owns the NFL’s 22nd-most difficult remaining schedule and on top of that only have one game left to play against the New England Patriots, as well. Say what you will about how bad the Patriots looked in the month of October, we’re not ready to write them off from being a difficult opponent just yet. And the Patriots have owned Buffalo as of late (and over the last 20 years). So even some of the Bills’ ‘softer’ games are anything but. There will be no more games against the New York Jets, where as the Dolphins still have one to play there.
From the AFC North, Miami must play the 1-5-1 Cincinnati Bengals. Buffalo? The 6-0 Pittsburgh Steelers. Miami caught some bad bounces early in the season, but they’re in position to wipe all of that away in the coming weeks with the schedule at hand. Even the Las Vegas Raiders, Miami’s Week 16 opponent, are looking like less of a tough out when considering just how bad their defensive play has been. Only once thus far this season have the Raiders allowed less than 30 points in a game.
Buckle in, Dolphins fans! It’s going to be a fun two months. And if Miami stays healthy and the quarterback change goes according to plan, Miami could close the gap between them and the Bills and suddenly find themselves clashing in Week 17 for all the marbles in the AFC East.