The Bucs and Dolphins are six days away from Sunday's season opener at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, but both teams and the NFL will keep an eye on Hurricane Irma, which is moving on a path that could impact South Florida this weekend.
The National Hurricane Center's 5 a.m. update Monday warned that Irma is "expected to remain a dangerous major hurricane through the upcoming week," but also cautioned that "it is too early to determine what direct impacts Irma might have on the continental United States." The update reiterated that "everyone in hurricane-prone areas should ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place" with the peak of hurricane season ahead.
The current projected path of the storm -- to the south, lining up with Cuba -- would have its outer edges impacting South Florida on Sunday. The NFL and both teams would have to decide whether they would want to continue staging a game in such a path, primarily for fan safety reasons but also for logistical concerns. No decisions to move the game have been made as of Monday morning.
While it's been mentioned that the Bucs and Dolphins both have their bye weeks in Week 11, which would allow the NFL to move the game to the weekend of Nov. 19, doing so would mean both teams play games 16 weeks in a row, creating a competitive disadvantage. As such, all safe options to move the game within this weekend would be exhausted first.
The priority would be keeping the game at Hard Rock Stadium, adjusting the time of kickoff before the location. The game could be moved to earlier in the week before the storm has arrived, which answers the safety concerns but presents logistical challenges. Absent that, the game could be moved to a neutral site -- the Dolphins would want to avoid turning this into a Bucs home game if at all possible -- so a city like Orlando would be more out of the storm's path and a relatively neutral location, as would Jacksonville, which has the Jaguars playing in Houston this weekend.
The Dolphins were in similar position in October last year, with a home game against the Titans threatened by Hurricane Matthew, whose path shifted north and allowed the game to be played without any weather problems.
The two teams and the league remain in wait-and-see mode, with some time between now and when a decision would have to be made to allow the storm to change course and have less of an impact on Miami and Sunday afternoon.