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Dolphins 2022 Schedule: Ranking the Games by Degree of Difficulty

The Miami Dolphins will have a lot of tough games in 2022, but which ones look like the most challenging at this time?

While we already knew the Miami Dolphins opponents and the sites, the release of the 2022 regular season schedule brought the added element of when the games actually are going to be played.

With that additional information, we now rank the Dolphins' 2022 games by degree of difficulty, countdown style from the least challenging (at this point, of course) to the most challenging.

17 — vs. Houston, Week 12

The Dolphins handled the Texans last year at Hard Rock Stadium, though Tyrod Taylor was coming off an injury and really struggled and Laremy Tunsil also was inactive. All that said, Houston still looks like a rebuilding team.

16 — at Chicago, Week 9

The Bears have a new coach in former Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus but also a whole lot of question marks, starting with second-year quarterback Justin Fields. And the Dolphins don't have to worry about Khalil Mack in this game now that he's with the Chargers.

15 — vs. N.Y. Jets, Week 18

We've said it before and we'll say it again, we'd expect the Jets to be much improved in their second year under head coach Robert Saleh and with Zach Wilson at quarterback, but it's difficult to predict how big of a jump they can make and closing at home is a big advantage for the Dolphins.

14 — vs. Minnesota, Week 6

The Vikings have been an impossible team to figure out in recent years, so this may be way too early for them on this list. The Minnesota offense always can be dangerous with Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook.

13 — at N.Y. Jets, Week 5

As mentioned before, don't expect the Jets games to be as easy as they've been — even though the Dolphins won by only seven in both games last season, it never really felt like they were going to lose either one. 

12 — at Detroit, Week 8

The Lions are another team that should make a jump in 2022. This was a team that always played hard last year, which is just what you'd expect from a Dan Campbell-coached team, and you can just imagine how fired up he's going to have his guys for the matchup against the franchise that spurned him in 2016 after interviewing him for the head-coaching position. No offense to Jared Goff, but if the Lions had a dangerous quarterback, this game would be ranked as even more difficult.

11 — vs. New England, Week 1

Yes, the Dolphins had won three in a row against New England, but it's still the Patriots and it's still Bill Belichick, and the mystique still somewhat exists, even though it's not nearly as powerful as when Tom Brady was around. Besides, we can't simply forget that this was a playoff team in 2021 despite having a rookie quarterback.

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10 — vs. Pittsburgh, Week 7

The Brian Flores storyline aside, the Steelers have been a dominant team in prime time over the years and their defense pretty much always is very good. The only thing keeping this game from being ranked as tougher is the quarterback position, where the Steelers will be going with Mitch Trubisky or rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett.

9 — vs. Cleveland, Week 10

The Browns will be one of the most intriguing teams in the NFL this year because of Deshaun Watson, and we'd suspect he'll be off his league suspension by Week 10. 

8 — at New England, Week 17

The Dolphins will ring in the new year at Gillette Stadium in a game that very well might have major playoff implications. The weather also could be a factor at this time of year.

7 — at San Francisco, Week 13

Mike McDaniel's return to San Francisco is going to be no easy task against a 49ers team that has gone to the NFC Championship Game two of the last three years. There is a big question mark at quarterback, however, for the 49ers involving Trey Lance and it's why we didn't rank this game higher.

6 — at L.A. Chargers, Week 14

The Chargers wasted Justin Herbert's brilliant 2021 season with some really bad defensive play, so they went out and loaded up in the offseason by bringing Mack and star cornerback J.C. Jackson, among others. The Dolphins defense confused and stifled the Chargers offense when the teams met in Miami in 2020, but it'll be a major challenge to be able to pull that off again.

5 — vs. Green Bay, Week 16

Aaron Rodgers. Do we need to say more? Oh, and Green Bay was the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs each of the past two seasons.

4 — at Baltimore, Week 2

Yes, the Dolphins pretty much handled the Ravens in the Thursday night game last November when Xavien Howard scored one of his two defensive touchdowns on the season, but let's not forget that Baltimore was dealing at the time with massive injury issues at running back and in the secondary. Besides, this will be home opener for the Ravens and the Dolphins' last two trips there ended in losses by scores of 38-6 and 40-0.

3 — vs. Buffalo, Week 3

We don't need to tell Dolphins fans the team has lost seven in a row against Josh Allen and the Bills, most of them by large margins. Until proven otherwise, Buffalo is in a different class in the AFC East.

2 — at Cincinnati, Week 4

There's the great storyline for this game with Tua Tagovailoa facing Joe Burrow in the NFL for the first time, but beyond that the Bengals are the defending AFC champions. And facing them on the road in a Thursday night game only adds to the difficulty quotient.

1 — at Buffalo, Week 15

It could be a while before we know exactly when this game will be played (it's TBA for either Saturday, Dec. 17 or Sunday, Dec. 18), but regardless it's the most challenging game on the schedule not only because of the opponent, but also because of the location with potentially winter weather adding another challenging element.