MIAMI -- The Miami Dolphins' 2023 schedule was released along with the rest of the NFL slate Thursday.
All eyes will be on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who ended last season in concussion protocol after suffering his second diagnosed concussion. Tagovailoa will enter this season with his fifth-year option picked up and with a team expected to contend for a Super Bowl after the addition of cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The Dolphins are scheduled to play five nationally televised games, including a Week 9 showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs in Frankfurt, Germany.
A loaded AFC East and a challenging interconference matchup with the NFC East should make this an interesting season for Miami, which snapped a five-year playoff drought in 2022.
Here's how things look for the Dolphins:
Sept. 10: at Los Angeles Chargers
Sept. 17: at New England (SNF)
Sept. 24: vs. Denver
Oct. 1: at Buffalo
Oct. 8: vs. New York Giants
Oct. 15: vs. Carolina
Oct. 22: at Philadelphia (SNF)
Oct. 29: vs. New England
Nov. 5: vs. Kansas City (in Frankfurt, Germany)
Nov. 12: BYE WEEK
Nov. 19: vs. Las Vegas
Nov. 24: at New York Jets (Friday)
Dec. 3: at Washington
Dec. 11: vs. Tennessee (MNF)
Dec. 17: vs. New York Jets
Dec. 24: vs. Dallas
Dec. 31: at Baltimore
Jan. 6 or 7: vs. Buffalo
Strength of schedule: .556 (second-toughest)
You can tell a lot about the NFL's expectations for a team based on their schedule, and it's clear the league expects a nationally captivating Dolphins squad in 2023. Miami could play six nationally televised games this season if its Week 18 game against the Bills is flexed to Saturday. Also, keep an eye on their final three games of the season; in each of the past three seasons, the Dolphins have clinched or lost a postseason berth in either Week 17 or Week 18. This year, Miami plays the Cowboys, Ravens and Bills -- all playoff teams in 2022 -- to round out its regular season. Seeding, or a playoff berth altogether, will almost certainly be on the line once again.
The Dolphins' matchup with Buffalo in Week 4 is an easy revenge game candidate, but the bad blood between the division rivals is perpetual. So let's go with Miami's Week 1 game against the Los Angeles Chargers -- the team that handed them a sound beating on Sunday Night Football last season. The Dolphins looked outclassed and outcoached in last year's game, with the exception of Tyreek Hill, who scored a pair of 60-yard touchdowns. It's an opportunity to start the season on a high note, but it also kicks off a tricky five-game stretch to start the season in which they face three playoff teams and the Patriots on Sunday Night Football.
The Dolphins will have seven wins by the time they hit their Week 10 bye. Those first nine games are far from easy, with five games against playoff teams from a season ago, including both Super Bowl participants. Miami should be able to handle games against the Patriots (twice), Broncos and Panthers, so in order to hit this lofty prediction, it will need to win those games and win three against the Chargers, Bills, Giants, Eagles and Chiefs. Sure, it seems bold, but last year I predicted the Dolphins would start 8-2. They instead started 7-3 with Tagovailoa missing two games, so maybe I'm onto something here.