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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins vs Packers Instant Reaction

Jason Hrina



Image Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

We knew this was going to be an embarrassment, we just didn’t think it would be this painful.

Miami, already decimated with injuries, simply had to limp into the bye week without accumulating any other casualties.

Instead, the Dolphins will look to rely on Leonte Carroo to save their season.

A lot happened in this 31-12 loss to the Green Bay Packers, and contrary to the final score, there were some bright spots in this game. Though, like always, this team leaves us with more questions than answers.

Honestly, the best thing we’re going to enjoy today is the New York Jets getting slaughtered by the Buffalo Bills and Tom Brady‘s New England Patriots falling flat on their face against the Tennessee Titans.

Below are a few things we noticed from the now 5-5 Miami Dolphins loss to the Packers:

Offensive Guru Wanted

Listen, we, as fans, expected nothing coming into this game. It was going to be a massacre, and we were all going to play masochist and watch the game anyway.

This team played without its starting offensive tackles, its starting center, its starting left guard, its starting tight end, its biggest wildcard/play maker/offensive threat (Albert Wilson) and the most obvious omission, its starting quarterback.

And yet, if I told you that Brock Osweiler had more passing yards than Aaron Rodgers, and that Frank Gore would average almost 7 yards a carry on 13 carries, you would think Miami got into some crazy offensive shootout.

But alas, Miami’s offense is shooting a slingshot while every other offense (except the Jets) is living in the 21st century.

After watching Miami fail to score a touchdown against the Jets last week, we weren’t expected an offensive unit that was decimated by more injuries to perform better. Then again, we also didn’t think we’d go two full football games without an offensive touchdown. It’s extremely deflating to watch this team convert three early trips to the red zone into just 9 points; especially when the rest of the team is able to produce turnovers, get a 4th-down stop in Packers territory, and block punts close to the endzone.

This team is doing everything it can to put the offense in a position to capitalize and they just can’t do it. Finishing a drive is more toxic to this organization than Miko Grimes.

The obvious scapegoat is the guru behind this entire offense, Adam Gase. And while there’s merit to removing Gase as offensive coordinator (so he can focus on being an actual head coach), I can’t pin this specific performance on Gase. He was working with an injury-riddled offensive line and a quarterback who’s red zone fumble wasn’t even his most embarrassing play of the night (his interception to one-time free agent visitor Bashaud Breeland was pretty bad, and possibly more costly given that it happened on Miami’s 38 yard line).

Thing is, for as much success Gase has had with backups, he hasn’t accomplished much on offense. Sean McVay has better talent with the Los Angeles Rams, but Jeff Fisher had much of the same offensive talent and got himself fired. McVay revamped that offense, and turned it into the threat they now are…THAT is an offensive guru.

Again, it’s hard to fault Adam Gase for having a weak cast of characters, but I do blame Gase for leading an offense that hasn’t scored an offensive touchdown in over two games.

The only saving grace Miami has right now on offense is Frank Gore. Gore rushed for 90 yards on 13 carries and continues to be the number one back ahead of Kenyan Drake. Drake was banged up a little bit this game, but he only saw 8 rushes. Reason being? One running back had 6.9 yards per carry while the other had a mere 3.4.

At this point, 10 weeks in, I’m not sure the Dolphins are misusing Drake, he just may not have been ready to handle everything that comes with being a number one back (blitz pickup, pass protecting, etc). He’s flashy and a playmaker, and Miami needs to figure out a way to better utilize his raw skill set.

Maybe with DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant being injured, Miami can flex him out wide. It’s not like they have that many options available for them, anyway.

While cutting on a route, Jakeem Grant went down and appeared to injure his Achilles. He had been dealing with an Achilles injury prior to this, and was trying to play through it. Though it’s pretty easy to say it now, they probably shouldn’t have let a player who lives off of their shiftiness and speed play with one of their most vital muscles injured. After such a promising and productive year for the returner and wide receiver, Grant will most likely have a long recovery before returning to game action. If Tony Lippett‘s Achilles injury is any indication, we might not see Grant perform in a Dolphins uniform again.

After the game, Parker’s arm was in a sling.

Darren Rizzi is the Team’s MVP

There’s a reason why Darren Rizzi has survived three head coaching regimes, and why he currently owns the title of “Assistant Head Coach”.

Originally hired by Tony Sparano, Rizzi has always had an exceptional special teams unit. He started his Dolphins tenure with two really good special teams players – Dan Carpenter and Brandon Fields – but he hasn’t been afraid to move on from a player when he sees a better opportunity available.

Other than the curious case of Andrew Franks from 2015 – 2016, Rizzi has nailed every move he’s made with his kickers and punters. Rizzi made his most surprising move when he kept Matt Darr over Brandon Fields in 2015. Then, after a subpar rookie season, fans were wondering why Rizzi ditched a successful Matt Darr for the lefty-kicking Matt Haack. 2018 proved that Rizzi both knew what he was investing in, and knew how to evolve Haack into a weapon rather than a liability. In comparison, Darr hasn’t played since the 2016 season.

Today, the Dolphins special teams unit was the only reason Miami looked like a relevant football team for 40 minutes.

Overall, Leonte Carroo may be a 3rd-round disappointment for Dolphins fans, but he was the most valuable Dolphins player this game, and he’s going to have a much larger role for the last 6 games of the season.

Carroo recovered a blocked punt, recovered another fumble on special teams, converted a fake punt for a 1st-down and also had himself a 20-yard reception on 3rd-and-19 to top it all off.

Although his kick out of bounds ended up being the catalyst for Green Bay’s dominance during the second half, Jason Sanders had a good game – making 4 of 4 field goals – and continues to be a reliable kicker for this team. Most Dolphins fans felt losing Cody Parkey was a big deal this offseason, but the boy from Jupiter has missed 5 field goals and 2 extra points so far this season (after missing both field goal attempts and 2 of his 4 extra points earlier today), and doesn’t look worth anywhere near the $15m kicker the Chicago Bears signed this offseason.

Green Bay ended up pulling off a fake punt on Miami, which will certainly blemish the otherwise phenomenal game the special teams unit had. If it weren’t for them, 14-12 in the 3rd-quarter against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers wouldn’t have been possible.

Miami’s Defense Consistently Underperforms

The Green Bay Packers were beatable today. Aaron Rodgers did not look too good, and Miami was able to contain the future hall of fame quarterback for a majority of the game.

They just forgot to compensate for the other Aaron on the team.

Aaron Jones ran for only 54 less yards than what Rodgers passed for, as the sophomore running back drafted in the 5th-round gashed Miami’s putrid rushing defense for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Miami’s linebackers looked overwhelmed, and their defensive tackles didn’t do much in terms of containment. Robert Quinn was able to record 1.5 sacks, but he’s been better at setting the edge than sacking the quarterback. And that’s fine when that’s your job as a role player, not when you’re making over $11m and expected to swing games in your team’s favor.

With more communication issues and questionable play calls this game, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Matt Burke during the bye week. I’m not too sure that changing the defensive coordinator will suddenly spark the defense, but it’s almost conclusive that Burke is not going to be returning as defensive coordinator next season.

Xavien Howard looked lost on a touchdown to Davante Adams, settling in the endzone while the receiver stopped on the 3-yard line and jogged in for the score. He still had a “good” game overall, but he also needs to cut down on the few negative plays he has each game. He has now allowed a touchdown in two of the last three games.

Reshad Jones sat the first quarter and part of the second quarter as punishment for quitting on the team last week. The team certainly missed him during Green Bay’s first two touchdown drives, but it’s not like he became a difference maker while in the lineup. That’s not to imply that the team is better when Jones isn’t in the lineup, but something has been amiss recently with the lifelong Dolphin.

The only clear-cut difference maker on defense continues to be Minkah Fitzpatrick, who had a great game as the boundary cornerback.

Bobby McCain was beat by Davante Adams in the first-quarter on an inside slant while he was on the boundary. He returned to the slot in the 2nd-quarter and played adequately before being blindsided by Packers receiver Equanimeous St. Brown in the 3rd-quarter. McCain was knocked out for a minute before popping to his feet. He walked to the locker room on his own power, but did not return to the game. The safe assumption is he suffered a concussion, and will have the next week to rest from most football activity.

By the way, remember when we thought the Buffalo Bills were two easy wins on our schedule? Might have to rethink that. One week after the Dolphins beat the Jets 13-6 (and failed to score an offensive touchdown), the Bills and Matt Barkley – his first game since 2016 – won 41-10.

This might be a long winter.

Growing up a passionate Dolphins fan in Jets territory, Jason learned from an early age that life as a Dolphins fan wasn’t going to be easy. Previously the Sports Editor for his university newspaper, Jason has experience writing columns, creating game recaps and conducting interviews with Hall of Fame athletes (Harry Carson and Yogi Berra are two of his proudest interviews). When he’s not dissecting the latest sports news, you can find him perplexed over the Dolphins offensive line woes or involuntarily introducing music to his neighbors.

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Miami Dolphins

Brian Flores’ Pre-Draft Update

Jason Hrina



Image Credit: Miami Dolphins / Jason Hrina

Get used to this mantra, Miami Dolphins fans: Adapt or Die.

You might not find it printed on training camp t-shirts for the team to sport around, but you can expect head coach Brian Flores to repeat this line often. It’s about to become ingrained in both us and the players.

Flores spoke briefly with reporters before the team finished up their 3-day “voluntary” workout and gets ready for the upcoming NFL draft.

If you’ve heard these kind of comments before, it’s because Flores has nailed the proper, cliche proper press conference etiquette. Answers are “insightful”, but vague. He gives you an answer while also laying out all other possibilities. That said, he’ll sometimes respond with some sarcasm and wit that’ll reassure you that there is a personality inside of him.

If there is one thing we can take away from Flores’ demeanor and message, it’s that he isn’t about to tolerate the type of locker room culture that festered in Miami under Adam Gase. There will be both accountability and self-reflection; and that’s reassuring after witnessing Gase deflect blame to everyone but himself.

With the most important day of the offseason just one week away, we take a look at what Flores had to say at his press conference earlier this morning:

On the Draft:

Most important measuring tool?:

“Combination of production. Height. Weight. Speed. Intangibles. Fit. There’s a myriad of things there. To say it’s just one thing that’s important…they’re all important.”

“Is one more important than the other, I’d say no.”

“It’s the total fit of the player and how we feel they’ll fit with our team.”

Combine/Visits, what do you get out of it?:

“Try to get to know the person, that’s a big part of this.”

“Sometimes people see players as just players. You want to know about their mom, their dad, who was an important person in their life. What kind of adversity they have faced before. Does that person fit your style as a coach, your locker room, the culture you’re trying to build as a team. When you sit down with a player, you’re just trying to get to know him.”

I think Dolphins fans know this all too well after the Dez Bryant/Jeff Ireland prostitution episode back in 2010.

Flores’ Influence in the Draft:

“Chris and I definitely work well together. We speak the same language….when we come together it’s the same (language)”

“Have had (and) will have discussions on different scenarios (throughout the draft)”

On his New/Hybrid Defense:

What kind of players do you need for your Hybrid defense?:

“We need good players.”

“I think as a coach, you get a good player, (and you ask yourself) what does he do well? You try and do that.”

“That’s the good thing about having a versatile scheme, it fits a good player.”

“You try and get the best player and I feel me and my staff can fit what we’re going to do around that player.”

“Some guys are going to have a better fit than others, but you have to put the whole fit together.”

On Identity of this Team:

“You know, call it what you want.”

“I’m going to get my team to play hard. Play together. Play with good fundamentals and technique. Play as a team. Put the team first. You have to try and get 11 guys to play together and that’s a hard thing to accomplish as a coach.”

“That’s my goal, you can call it whatever you want. ‘The Patriot Way’….to me, it’s just good football.”

Flores seems to understand that he’s going to live under Bill Belichick‘s shadow for awhile, especially if he is unsuccessful. Seems like he’s also getting a little tired of it….and I kind of like it. I’m glad he’ll have this chip on his shoulder to prove that he isn’t just a Belichick clone. Then again, judging by all Flores has gone through, he doesn’t need this chip to drive him.

Does he expect his players to be on time?:

“If you’re early, you’re on time, if you’re on time, you’re late, and if you’re late you’re forgotten.”

“Is it a rule, no, it’s my personal mantra.”

“I have a lot of respect for time. I think it’s precious; we shouldn’t take it for granted. If you want to stay on schedule you have to stay on time.”

“We have a schedule, it’s laid out pretty well.”

There is absolutely no bull**** from Brian Flores when it comes to practice! That’s not to say Adam Gase or any of the other prior head coaches were more-lenient, but you get the feeling that Flores isn’t going to tolerate players who believe they are bigger than the team.

Gase showed a similar coaching style when he traded Jay Ajayi and released players like Byron Maxwell and Jordan Phillips, but that never translated to a productive locker room culture. It’ll be interesting to see how Flores’ style compares.

On His “Right-Hand Man”:

“Pick any of the 20 guys, they’re all my right-hand men.”

“We work well together. (We) try and put a staff together that embodies what I want our team to reflect.

“I want to be tough, I want to be smart, I want to work well together.”

On Mike Gesicki:

“Mike is a good, young player. Talented. Like everyone else on this team, there are places he can improve, develop, get better. As a young player, there’s a lot of room for development. Mike’s working hard. We see what everyone else sees: he has size, speed, can catch the ball.”

On Raekwon McMillian and Jerome Baker:

“Raekwon is big. Fast. Physical. (Has) good leadership. Smart. Can play a few different positions. (A) good, young player.”

“Jerome is another skilled player. Fast. Good tackler. Raekwon is a good tackler as well. Smart. Can do a few different things. Can cover; which, obviously in this league, going in a passing direction, it’s good to have an LB that can cover.”

“We’re glad to have them both.”

On Jake Rudock and Luke Falk:

“Like everyone else, they’re working hard. They are doing everything possible to try and improve their techniques, fundamentals. Footwork. Ball Handling. They’re doing a really good job. All 3 quarterbacks.”

“We’re excited to see what they can do moving forward.”

Flores couldn’t be more generic with the assessment of his players. Even going back to when he discussed Charles Harris at a previous press conference, Flores tends to speak about his players vaguely, as if to avoid tipping his hand in any regard.

From a player’s perspective, it’s nice to know your coach won’t throw you under the bus and will keep things private. From our fan perspective, it means we just have to go through every possible adjective and scenario with him. He’s not lying when one of them has to be true.

On his Mother’s Passing:

“It was hard. She’s someone I think about on a daily basis. Wish she was here to enjoy this with us, but she’s with me all the time.”

“She wouldn’t’ want me to dwell or be upset and she would want me to have peace.”

“I’m sad. I’m unhappy. I miss her. But I have peace knowing I did everything I can to make her proud.”

On New Surprises as a Head Coach:

“(I have had) A lot of conversations with head coaches around the league…one thing they said is something would come across your desk every day.”

“(That’s) kind of my approach coming in, being adaptable. A mantra of our team: ‘adapt or die’.”

“Part of (the job) is allowing other people to lead.”

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins 2019 Vegas Slant Schedule Breakdown

Travis Wingfield



Future opponents are known years in advance in the NFL. With the exception of two games decided by divisional standing finish, fourteen opponents are determined based on the schedule rotation. The order in which those games will occur, like everything else the NFL does, has become a primetime event.

While the luck of the draw factors heavily (in-season injuries, particular teams playing their best/worst ball at a certain time of year, etc.) the order of the games provides intriguing details.

Traveling for a Thursday night game, for instance, is an extreme disadvantage for the visitor. The infamous “trap game” can occur when a team faces a lesser opponent before taking on a heavyweight. Lastly, for a team like the Dolphins, weather implications are always worth noting.

This column refers to the favors, or lack thereof, that the NFL gave the Dolphins based purely on travel, trap games, etcetera.

Week 1 – BALTIMORE RAVENS – September 8, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Ravens Sandwich Game: Week 2 Cardinals

September victories are difficult to come by for teams visiting Hard Rock Stadium. The Dolphins haven’t lost such an affair since 2015 with a multitude of early-season upsets under the franchise’s belt this century (2014 vs. New England and 2005 vs. Denver, most notably).

Baltimore’s ground-and-pound attack could have a converse affect, however, as the Dolphins defensive conditioning will have to be on-point from the word go.

Week 2 – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – September 15, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Patriots Sandwich Games: Week 1 vs. Pittsburgh, Week 3 vs. NY Jets

Dec 9, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake (32) runs the ball after a flea flicker play to score a touchdown to defeat the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

New England’s 2018 meltdown in Miami came one week prior to a trip to Heinz Field. Now, the Pats will travel back to Tom Brady’s house of horrors in Miami one week after kicking the season off in primetime against those same Steelers.

This won’t serve as a trap game given the recent outcomes of games between these two teams, but Miami is catching the Pats at the right time. Over the last two seasons New England are just 4-4 in the first quarter of the schedule (September games), a .250-point decrease in winning percentage from their cumulative record.

Week 3 – @ Dallas Cowboys – September 22, 1:00 EST AT&T Stadium
Cowboys Sandwich Games: Week 2 @ Washington, Week 4 @ Saints

This is a classic trap game for the Cowboys. Coming off a game with its biggest rival, then heading to the toughest building to play in, in the NFC, the opportunity for Miami to steal a road win against a sleep-walking favorite is in the cards.

Week 4 – Los Angeles Chargers- September 29, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Chargers Sandwich Games: Week 3 @Texans, Week 5 Broncos

The early time slot for a west coast team is one of the biggest advantages, statistically, in football. The Chargers historically struggle in Miami but the talent discrepancy is probably too great for any of these advantages to factor in.

Week 5 – BYE WEEK

After a week-11 bye last year, Miami gets the burden of an early off-week. The Dolphins will play out the string for 12 weeks with zero breaks in between.

Week 6 – Washington – October 13, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Washington Sandwich Games: Week 5 @Patriots, Week 7 49ers

A let down following a potential beat down in New England bodes well for Miami. Washington is probably the one team on this entire schedule that Miami can matchup with from a talent perspective.

Week 7 – @ Buffalo Bills – October 20, 1:00 EST New Era Field
Bills Sandwich Games: Week 6 BYE, Week 8 Eagles

Miami’s first game against a team coming off a bye, in a building that has only provided the setting for one Miami win in the last five years, this one stacks the deck against the Dolphins.

Week 8 – @ Pittsburgh Steelers – October 28, 5:25 EST MONDAY Heinz Field
Steelers Sandwich Games: Week 7 BYE, Week 9 Colts

Another game, another opponent coming off of a bye. The Steelers will have the benefit of a 15-day break prior to lacing it up for Miami in primetime. The Dolphins road primetime woes should be noted as well – Miami are 0-for-it’s-last 8 in those games.

Week 9 – New York Jets – November 3, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Jets Sandwich Games: Week 8 @Jaguars, Week 10 Giants

Dec 23, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase looks on during the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Adam Gase game will certainly have both teams on notice. The man that holds a grudge like no other will certainly have this date circled on his calendar, as will the countless Dolphins players that grew tired of Gase’s shtick. This might be the most entertaining football game Miami plays all season.

Week 10 – @ Indianapolis Colts – November 10, 1:00 EST Lucas Oil Stadium
Colts Sandwich Games: Week 9 @Steelers, Week 11 Jaguars

With a potentially crucial divisional game on-deck with the Jaguars, the Colts could fall victim to overlooking Miami here. The Colts are a difficult out in that building and are quietly building up one of the most talented rosters in the AFC.

Week 11 – Buffalo Bills – November 17, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Bills Sandwich Games: Week 10 @Browns, Week 12 Broncos

Divisional games rarely adhere to traditional trap procedures. Ideally the Dolphins would catch the Bills in September, but the week-7 trip to Western New York offsets the lack of weather advantages. This game should see peak effort from both teams.

Week 12 – @ Cleveland Browns – November 24, 1:00 EST First Energy Stadium
Browns Sandwich Games: Week 11 Steelers (TNF), Week 13 @Steelers

Somehow the NFL has this strange scheduling procedure where teams play each other twice over a three-week period. Cleveland sandwiches its two games with the Steelers with a home date against your Miami Dolphins – that’s the ultimate trap.Cleveland’s benefit comes from having 10 days to prepare for Brian Flores and Miami.

Week 13 – Philadelphia Eagles – December 1, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Eagles Sandwich Games: Week 12 Seahawks, Week 14 Giants

With a pivotal NFC matchup on the front end, and a divisional game on the backend, Philadelphia is in a potential trap game situation. The Dolphins home field advantage serves as another beneficial factor in this game as the weather contract between Philadelphia and Miami, in December, is stark.

Week 14 – @ New York Jets – December 8, 1:00 EST Met Life Stadium
Jets Sandwich Games: Week 13 @Bengals, Week 15 @Ravens (TNF)

The game before a road trip on a short week typically favors the opposition – that’s the spot the Adam Gase finds himself in here when the Jets welcome Miami to the Meadowlands. With two NFC games bookending this game for the Dolphins, this is a great spot for Miami to steal a road win.

Week 15 – @ New York Giants – December 15, 1:00 EST Met Life Stadium
Giants Sandwich Games: Week 14 @Eagles, Week 16 @ Washington

This is a trap game for both teams, believe it or not. A non-conference game, sandwiched by two divisional games, has the makings for a let down on either side. If the season plays out as expected, this game could have massive implications on the race for Tua Tagovailoa.

Week 16 – Cincinnati Bengals – December 22, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Bengals Sandwich Games: Week 15 @Patriots, Week 17 Browns

Like the previous game, this might set up as a draft positioning game. Both teams that figure to finish at, or near, the bottom of their respective divisions, playing out the string with rookie coaches, there isn’t much of an advantage to take away from this one.

Week 17 – @ New England Patriots – December 29, 1:00 EST Gillette Stadium
Patriots Sandwich Games: Week 16 Bills

For the second consecutive year, the Patriots finish the season with two divisional home games – seems fishy, doesn’t it? The only potential saving grace here, for the ‘Phins, is that New England could have the AFC East wrapped up, as they typically do every year.


This is, no doubt, a difficult road to hoe for Miami. The order of the games, the stacks of road trips, it’s a lot to put on the plate of a first year head coach trying to set a foundation.

The troops of the tank train should be satisfied with this gamete — it likely puts Miami in a hole that will be difficult to climb out of, especially given Ryan Fitzpatrick’s medical history.

For more on this schedule, tune in to the Locked On Dolphins podcast – your daily dose of Miami Dolphins football.


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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Complete 2019 Schedule

Travis Wingfield



Before ESPN, NFL Network, local beat writers – before anybody on the scene, Locked On Dolphins broke the 2018 Dolphins schedule. 2019 is shaping up to be the same. Keep it locked on this thread for updates from our source in the industry to get you the latest on Miami’s 2019 slate.

After the schedule release we will break things down with a column similar to the last year’s analysis.

Tomorrow’s Locked On Dolphins Podcast will be all about Miami’s 2019 schedule.

Wk Date Opponent Time
1 9/8 RAVENS 1:00
2 9/15 PATRIOTS 1:00
3 9/22 @ Cowboys 1:00
4 9/29 CHARGERS 1:00
5  — — BYE WEEK–  —
6 10/13 WASHINGTON 1:00
7 10/20 @ Bills 1:00
8 10/28 @ Steelers 8:15 MNF
9 11/3 JETS 1:00
10 11/10 @ Colts 4:05
11 11/17 BILLS 1:00
12 11/24 @Browns 1:00
13 12/1 EAGLES 1:00
14 12/8 @ Jets 1:00
15 12/15 @ Giants 1:00
16 12/22 BENGALS 1:00
17 12/29 @ Patriots 1:00

*BOLD denotes home game


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