Tough road

The Miami Dolphins had a great year in 2008.

Many in Cayman enjoyed Miami’s newfound success and were in good spirits the whole way.

This year though may not be one of good tidings for the Dolphins with their terribly hard schedule.

The 2009 NFL season schedule (which was released last week) sees a challenging first three weeks to the season for the Dolphins.

Miami takes on the Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers in consecutive games. All were in the playoffs last year.

The Dolphins will need to recuperate from their bye week (in week 6) fast because they face the Pats, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers in consecutive weeks.

To top it off Miami has to tangle with the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers within the last three weeks of the season.

All in all the Dolphins have a tough road ahead to be a winning team, much less make the playoffs.

Then again it will be a tough year, schedule-wise, for all the Florida teams.

Tampa Bay and the Jacksonville Jaguars are both coming off disappointing seasons in which they failed to make the playoffs.

Judging by their schedules the odds are low that they will do so this year.

The Buccaneers have a nightmare of a start to the season taking on formidable teams in seven consecutive weeks. Case in point: by the end of week five they will have played the entire NFC East (arguably the NFL’s toughest division).

The second half of the season is not much better as they face their division rivals five times. The biggest games in that slate will be against New Orleans and Atlanta the last two weeks.

Jacksonville also has a bad start to the year because they don’t match up well to the Colts, the Arizona Cardinals, the Houston Texans or Tennessee.

The Jags can be in the mix the rest of the way until they reach weeks 14-17 where they face Miami, Indy and the Pats.

Two of the big contenders last year who can have it tough this year are New England and Carolina.

The Pats face five tough teams after week two in Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, Tennessee and Tampa Bay. All but the Bucs and the Broncos were in the playoffs last year.

The second half of the season brings games against division rivals with Indy, Carolina and New Orleans tossed in as well.

For the Panthers their run game, lead in large part by Deangelo Williams, will have to be there from the start. Their first three games are against the Philadelphia Eagles, Falcons and Dallas Cowboys.

The last four weeks could be trying times for Carolina as they take on the Pats, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants and the Saints.

In the end, tough schedules mean fans in Cayman will again be treated to exciting pigskin action.

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