MIAMI (CBSMiami) – This is the last weekend without the Dolphins being in season until next year.

The new NFL schedule saw three preseason games this summer, down from four, so this is an off weekend for the league. The two-week break between preseason games and the start of the regular season allows the NFL to now play a 17 game regular season.

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Yes, it will be odd when talking football, we no longer will say “10-6” or “11-5”. The records will be a strange “9-8” and “12-5.” Like everything else that changes, we will get used to it at some point.

Dolphins coach Brian Flores has given the players a few days off preceding the first game week of the season. Game plans will be implemented as the team digs in to prepare for the opener in New England on September 12th at 4:25 p.m.

You can watch the game on CBS4, the official partner of the Miami Dolphins.

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It will be intriguing to see how defensive coordinator Josh Boyer goes after and tries to confuse rookie quarterback Mac Jones. He won the Patriots’ starting job with an impressive preseason. But it’s his first game and the Dolphins defense was 6th in the NFL last year thanks to the high number of turnovers forced, blitzes and generally keeping offenses off-balance with a variety of schemes.

One would think they’ll have plenty of tricks up their sleeve to throw at a quarterback making his NFL debut.

Jones took over the Alabama quarterback job from Tua Tagovailoa after the Dolphins drafted Tua last year.
The 17 game season gives teams a little more leeway as far as records are concerned.

Getting off to a slow start won’t have quite the impact it used to, with one more game to play to try and get things corrected. That said, the Dolphins start 2021 with three tough games, the first two in the division at New England next Sunday and home against Buffalo the week after.

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Miami went 3-3 in the AFC East last year, two of the losses came against the Bills. Week 3 has the Dolphins going across the country to play the Raiders in Vegas. Even with the extra game, a good start will go a long way towards the Dolphins reaching the playoffs.

Steven "Goldie" Goldstein