Miami Dolphins’ 2019 schedule features brutal road trips to end season

The NFL has released its 2019 regular-season schedule. Here’s a look at what’s in store for the Miami Dolphins:

Game-by-game predictions:

Dolphins reporter Cameron Wolfe is predicting a 4-12 finish.

Sept. 8: vs. Ravens, Loss

Sept. 15: vs. Patriots, Loss

Sept. 22: at Cowboys, Loss

Sept. 29: vs. Chargers, Loss

Oct. 13: vs. Redskins, Win

Oct. 20: at Bills, Loss

Oct. 28: at Steelers, Loss

Nov. 3: vs. Jets, Win

Nov. 10: at Colts, Loss

Nov. 17: vs. Bills, Loss

Nov. 24: at Browns, Loss

Dec. 1: vs. Eagles, Loss

Dec. 8: at Jets, Loss

Dec. 15: at Giants, Win

Dec. 22: vs. Bengals, Win

Dec. 29: at Patriots, Loss

Strength of schedule: 18th, .500

Breakdown

The Dolphins will get a chance to maximize one of the NFL’s best home-field advantages — the Miami heat at Hard Rock Stadium — with three September home games before an early Week 5 bye. This would typically be a great advantage, but the teams in those first four weeks were all playoff squads in 2018. New Dolphins coach Brian Flores will need to have his team ready to play big-boy football playing against the physical Ravens in the season opener. It will be a challenge for Miami to start off 2-2. However, October looks like a potential get-right month, as they face no 2018 playoff teams, but both the Bills and Steelers will be coming off of bye weeks before playing the Dolphins. The most cumbersome part of the season will be in December, when Miami plays three of its last four games in the blustery Northeast against the Jets and Giants, in back-to-back weeks, and then against the Patriots to close out the regular season.

Tom’s terrors and Flores/Gase/Jarvis reunions

The Dolphins have won five of their past six games against the New England Patriots in Miami, none more exciting than the last-second, “Miami Miracle” victory last December. There will be an early (and hot) Miami trip in Week 2 that will bring up Tom Brady‘s struggles at Hard Rock Stadium (7-10 vs. Dolphins in Miami), but this Dolphins team has less talent than previous years. Flores will face off with his mentor, Bill Belichick, for the first time in that September game and again in the season finale in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Flores spent his entire coaching career, dating to 2004, in New England, so there will be plenty of storylines to write about. Flores is looking forward to those matchups, where he says he and Belichick “won’t like each other for three or four hours,” but this Dolphins roster isn’t ready to dethrone the long-time kings of the AFC East just yet. Speaking of reunions, the Dolphins face former coach Adam Gase and the Jets in Week 9 and Week 14. They also face former star receiver Jarvis Landry and his reloaded Cleveland Browns in Week 12. Talk about extra juice for those games.

MNF love and Tua Watch?

The Dolphins weren’t expected to get much national TV love because of their rebuilding season, but they did get a midseason Monday Night Football game in Pittsburgh against the new-look Steelers, who are without Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. This is the team’s only scheduled prime-time game, and one of the two (Nov. 10 at Indianapolis, 4:05 p.m. ET) that doesn’t have a 1 p.m. ET start. For Dolphins fans looking at the big picture, Miami could enter December as a bigger contender for a top-5 draft pick in the 2020 NFL draft rather than the playoffs. The difficult December road trips will help those in the “Tank for Tua” Tagovailoa fan group, and matchups against the Giants and Bengals could have a significant impact on draft order.

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