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Dolphins have 17th toughest 2010 schedule

We don't know exactly when the Dolphins will play their 2010 home and away regular-season games, but we do know who they play and where and that is enough to figure Miami's schedule won't be an easy one in 2010 ... but it will be easier than it was in 2009.

According to NFL calculations, the Dolphins will have the 17th toughest schedule of 2010. In 2009 the Dolphins had the toughest schedule according to the won-loss records of their opponents from the season before.

The 2010 schedule offers teams with a combined won-loss record of 128-128. 

The Houston Texans will face the toughest schedule in the league according to, yes, league calculations. The Texans' opponents posted a 140-116 record in 2009. The Arizona Cardinals are at the other end of the spectrum with opponents that went 114-142 in 2009 for the easiest schedule in 2010.

Coach Tony Sparano always says his team's goal is to win the division first, and a look at the AFC East provides an interesting picture. The New England Patriots, the defending division champions, have the sixth toughest schedule at 136-120.

And here is where it gets nuts, the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills both face opponents with 128-128 records in 2009, same as the Dolphins. Yet the NFL ranked Buffalo's schedule the 16th-toughest, Miami's 17th-toughest, and New York's the 18th-toughest.

How the league makes the distinction when the teams face opponents with the same won-loss records from the previous year, I do not know.

I do know the Dolphins will play eight games against 2009 playoff teams. The Patriots will play eight games against 2009 playoff teams. The Bills will play eight games against 2009 playoff teams. The Jets will play six games against 2009 playoff teams.

The Jets advanced the furthest of any AFC East team, losing to Indianapolis in the AFC Championship game.