What would a 17th regular season game mean for the Dolphins in 2021?

Kyle Crabbs
·2 min read

The NFL appears to have reached the end of an era. With the news coming out yesterday from ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the NFL is “expected” to expand the regular season to 17 games this offseason, the league will leave behind a 42-year run of 16 regular season contests — going all the way back to 1978. The addition of a 17th regular season game will help further tip the scales across the playoff landscape each season and, in a cruel twist, may have been the difference in the Dolphins making the postseason or not in 2020 had such a schedule been in place.

Of course, such arrangements were not in place and the Dolphins, with 10 wins, became the first AFC team in the Wild Card era to miss the postseason with double digit wins.

So while an expanded schedule wasn’t able to help Miami in 2020, Schefter indicates that the additional game will be added on in 2021. What does that mean for the Dolphins? It means a matchup against some familiar faces so long as the current proposal for inter-conference rotation hold firm. The AFC East is supposed to see their 1-game crossover overlay with the NFC East; with the first place teams matching up against one another, the second place teams squaring off and so on.

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For the Dolphins, that means the New York Giants would be on the docket. For head coach Brian Flores, the Giants offer plenty of familiarity. New York’s head coach is a fellow Patriots alumni, Joe Judge. And the Giants defensive coordinator, Patrick Graham, held the same position in Miami back in 2019 for Flores’ first season in South Florida.

Such familiarity will come in useful for game planning purposes, especially against an uncommon opponent that the Dolphins typically only see once every four years.