Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A look at the Dolphins' 2010 opponents

David J. Neal of the Miami Herald wrote an interesting article today about the Dolphins' 2010 opponents. Most of the slate is known, with only two opponents out of the 16 games for next season undetermined.

For those of you that don't know, the NFL has a formula for determining each team's opponents every season. Essentially, it is as follows:
  • Six games against the team's three division opponents
  • Four games against a single AFC conference
  • Four games against a single NFC conference
  • Two games against teams from the conference's other two divisions that finished in the same position in the standings in their conference
Based on that formula, here are the Dolphins' opponents as is known today:

As you can see, the Dolphins play their three divisional opponents (Bills, Jets, Patriots) home and away, as is the case every year.

Beyond that, the Dolphins have games against the AFC North (two home and two away) and the NFC North (two home and two away).

The unknown opponents come from the Dolphins' scheduled games against two teams from the AFC South and AFC West that finish in the same division spot as the Dolphins do in 2009. Because the Dolphins' final spot in the AFC East is undetermined, so are these opponents.

Quite simply, if Miami wins the AFC East, they'll face the division winners from those two conferences—the Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers.

If the Dolphins finish in second place, they will play whoever finishes in second in the AFC South between the Jaguars, Texans and Titans, as well as the second-place AFC West team in the Denver Broncos.

Should Miami lose their next game or two and fall to third place in the AFC East behind he Patriots and Jets, the Dolphins will face the third-place AFC South team and the third-place AFC West team, already established as the Oakland Raiders.