The Miami Dolphins went out and hired a new head coach in Joe Philbin in preparation for the 2012 season, and now they know what their schedule looks like.
The Dolphins will be looking to get off to a better start in 2012. They started 0-7 in 2011, and by the time they got on track it was already too late. Along the way, head coach Tony Sparano was jettisoned.
Still, considering the way it started, Miami's 2011 season could have been a lot worse. Here's a look at what they'll be dealing with in 2012.
2012 Regular Season Schedule
Week 1 9/9: Miami Dolphins vs. Houston Texans, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Week 2 9/16: Oakland Raiders vs. Miami Dolphins, 4:15 p.m. ET, CBS
Week 3 9/23: New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Week 4 9/30: Miami Dolphins vs. Arizona Cardinals, 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS
Week 5 10/7: Miami Dolphins vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Week 6 10/14: St. Louis Rams vs. Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Week 7 10/21: BYE WEEK
Week 8 10/28: Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets, 1 p.m. ET CBS
Week 9 11/4: Miami Dolphins vs. Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. ET CBS
Week 10 11/11: Tennessee Titans vs. Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET CBS
Week 11 11/15: Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills, 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Week 12 11/25: Seattle Seahawks vs. Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Week 13 12/2: New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Week 14 12/9: Miami Dolphins vs. San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS
Week 15 12/16: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Week 16 12/23: Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Week 17 12/30: Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Which Game on the Schedule Poses Biggest Challange?
One thing that's immediately apparent is that the Dolphins are going to have a chance to do some damage at home this season.
Beyond the three AFC East opponents the Dolphins will host in 2012, they're going to be hosting some lightweights. The Jaguars, Raiders and Rams are all beatable teams, and the Titans and Seahawks are both flawed teams that are likely to be exposed away from home in 2012.
Miami's road schedule is not nearly as easy. The Dolphins could easily lose all three of their inter-division road matchups, and having to travel to San Francisco, Houston, Cincinnati and Arizona won't be fun.
The Dolphins don't have the toughest schedule in the league. Per TheRedZone.org, Miami's opponents had a .496 winning percentage in 2011. In terms of strength of schedule, the Dolphins place in the middle of the pack.
That's good news for a good team. But for a team that still has a lot of issues like the Dolphins, the news could be better.
Most Pivotal Matchup
In the AFC East, everything revolves around the Patriots. Any team that has eyes on winning the East will gave to go through the Pats.
Miami is not an exception to the rule. If the Dolphins are going to surprise people by winning the AFC East in 2012, they're going to have to beat the Pats at least once.
Good luck with that.