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Dolphins 2022 Schedule Breakdown: Stage Set for Another Good Run?

The Miami Dolphins had a seven-game winning streak in 2021 and their schedule sets up favorably for another similar run this season

The Miami Dolphins got themselves on the verge of the playoffs last season on the strength of a seven-game winning streak, and the 2022 schedule is set up favorably for another long run if they show the same ability to handle inferior teams this season.

The Dolphins have some very rough stretches at the start and toward the end of their 2022 schedule, but the middle part is — for lack of a better term — soft.

From Week 5 through Week 12, the Dolphins will play seven games against six teams that failed to make the playoffs last season with the seventh against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who did make the playoffs in 2021 but are expected to take a step back because of their uncertainties at quarterback following the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger.

The rundown goes like this:

-- Week 5, at N.Y. Jets

-- Week 6, vs. Minnesota

-- Week 7, vs. Pittsburgh

-- Week 8, at Detroit

-- Week 9, at Chicago

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-- Week 10, vs. Cleveland

-- Week 11, bye

-- Week 12, vs. Houston

Based on early odds from DraftKings and Caesars Sportbooks, the Dolphins are early favorites in each of those seven games, though DraftKings did not have odds on the game against the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 27 because of the uncertainty regarding the status of quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Revisiting the Dolphins' 2021 Seven-Game Winning Streak

Last season, the Dolphins were favorites before five of the victories during their seven-game winning streak against Houston, Baltimore, the Jets, Carolina, the Giants, the Jets again and the Saints. The two instances when they were underdogs were the games against Baltimore and Carolina, both at Hard Rock Stadium.

If the Dolphins are to make the playoffs in 2022 after barely falling short the past two seasons, they likely will have to make headway during that seven-game stretch.

It obviously would help if the Dolphins could go, say, 2-2 or better during their opening stretch against New England, Baltimore, Buffalo and Cincinnati.

The favorable seven-game stretch will come right before the Dolphins' brutal three-game road trip against the 49ers, Chargers and Bills.

The Dolphins defense shut down a string of suspect quarterbacks during their seven-game winning streak last year, and this year's favorable stretch could include matchups against second-year QBs Zach Wilson (Jets), Justin Fields (Chicago) and Davis Mills (Houston), along with possibly Steelers rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett.

Of those seven games, the Cleveland game would look like the most challenging if Watson happens to be in the lineup and the Sunday night game against Pittsburgh will be no gimme because — new quarterback and all — the Steelers haven't had a losing season since 2003 and they're also usually very good in prime-time games.

That game will mark Tua Tagovailoa's Sunday Night Football debut.