Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dolphins return to Thanksgiving, land two primetime games in 2011

As we await the seemingly distant word that there actually will be an NFL season in 2011, the league is going about its offseason business as usual with the release of the 2011 regular season schedule.

The Dolphins, who had their preseason schedule unveiled one week ago, will have two prime time games in 2011, including the regular season opener at home against the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football on September 12.

Additionally, the Dolphins will visit the New York Jets on Monday Night Football on October 17, and will face the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington on Thanksgiving Day.

The entire 2011 regular season schedule is as follows (all game times 1:00pm ET Sunday unless otherwise noted):
  • Sept. 12 — vs. New England Patriots (7:00pm ET/Monday Night Football)
  • Sept. 18 — vs. Houston Texans (4:15pm ET)
  • Sept. 25 — at Cleveland Browns
  • Oct. 2 — at San Diego Chargers (4:15pm ET)
  • Oct. 9Bye Week
  • Oct. 17 — at New York Jets (8:30pm ET/Monday Night Football)
  • Oct. 23 — vs. Denver Broncos
  • Oct. 30 — at New York Giants
  • Nov. 6 — at Kansas City Chiefs
  • Nov. 13 — vs. Washington Redskins
  • Nov. 20 — vs. Buffalo Bills
  • Nov. 24 — at Dallas Cowboys (4:15pm ET/Thanksgiving)
  • Dec. 4 — vs. Oakland Raiders
  • Dec. 11 — vs. Philadelphia Eagles
  • Dec. 18 — at Buffalo Bills
  • Dec. 24 — at New England Patriots (Saturday)
  • Jan. 1 — vs. New York Jets

Miami will certainly have a tough first half, with prime time games against two rivals and playoff teams from 2010 and away games against good competition like San Diego, New York and Kansas City. They'll have the bad fortune of having to make two separate trips to the Meadowlands just three two weeks apart.

On the positive side, the Dolphins will have five of their final eight games at home, which could be beneficial during a playoff run if they can manage to trade water in the first half of the season.

The Dolphins will also have their destiny largely in their own hands if they can manage to stay in contention into December, as their final three games are against their three AFC East rivals. Unfortunately, two of those games (Buffalo and New England) are on the road before they come how to face the Jets at home in the finale.

It will also be interesting to see how the Dolphins do on just three days rest when they face the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, although the franchise has historically done well on the holiday with an all-time record of 5-1.

Four of those games have been against the Cowboys, and the Dolphins lead the series 3-1. The last Thanksgiving matchup between the two franchises was in 2003, when three Chris Chambers touchdowns helped Miami to a 40-21 victory in Dallas.

As we wait for so many questions to be answered about the Dolphins' quarterback situation, next week's draft, a potentially distant free agency, and a season that may not happen, we at least now know more about the season we're looking forward to and hoping to enjoy come September.

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