The long wait is over — the Dolphins’ 2013 schedule has been officially released.
The journey will start with consecutive games on the road for the first time since 2010 — the Dolphins opened with consecutive wins over Minnesota and Buffalo that year — will feature three primetime games and will end with a home date against the division-rival New York Jets.
Now that the games have dates, here are a few early storylines to monitor heading into the 2013 regular season:
Week 1, 9/8, at Cleveland, 1:00:
- 1992 was the last time the Dolphins opened a regular season in Cleveland, a 27-23 win on Monday Night Football over a Browns team that was led by then-head coach Bill Belichick and future Dolphins quarterback Bernie Kosar.
- The Dolphins will open both the preseason and regular season in Ohio
- Cleveland has a four-game winning streak against the Dolphins. The last Dolphins wins against the Browns: Dec. 26, 2004
Week 2, 9/15, at Indianapolis, 1:00:
- Luck-Tannehill II: The two young guns meet again after last year’s thrilling 23-20 Colts victory at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Tannehill threw for 290 yards — the second-highest total of his rookie season — and added a touchdown pass. Not to be outdone, Luck finished with and NFL rookie record 433 yards and two touchdowns.
- Colts head coach Chuck Pagano will coach his first game against the Dolphins. (Bruce Arians, now the Cardinals’ head coach was Indianapolis’ interim coach while Pagano received treatment for leukemia)
Week 3, 9/22, vs. Atlanta, 4:05
- This game will mark the first time the Dolphins have opened at home with Atlanta in franchise history
- Reunions: Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes plays his old team, where he spent his entire NFL career. Mike Nolan returns to Miami, where he was defensive coordinator from 2010-11
- Last Played: Atlanta defeated the Dolphins, 17-9, on Sept. 13, 2009
Week 4, 9/30, at New Orleans, 8:40:
- Dolphins In Primetime: The first of the team’s two appearances on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.
- This season, Sean Payton returns as head coach for the Saints after serving a one-year suspension for Bountygate
- Last Played: New Orleans beat the Dolphins in a wild game, 46-34, on Oct. 25, 2009, the third-most combined points in team history
Week 5, 10/6, vs. Baltimore, 1:05
- The Dolphins host the defending Super Bowl champions: The last time that occurred: 2005, New England Patriots
- Ellerbe Faces Ravens: New Dolphins linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who spent the previous four seasons in Baltimore, welcomes his former team to town
- Last played: Ravens won 26-10, Nov. 7, 2010, in Baltimore
Week 6, BYE
- The fifth consecutive October bye for the Dolphins
Week 7, 10/20, vs. Buffalo, 1:00; Week 16, 12/22 at Buffalo, 1:00
- Last year’s results against Bills: The teams split the season series, with Buffalo winning at home, 19-14, and the Dolphins taking care of business in December at Sun Life Stadium, 24-10.
- New Faces in Buffalo: First-time NFL head coach Doug Marrone, the former Syracuse head coach, takes over for the departed Chan Gailey. Marrone, an offensive lineman, appeared in four games for the Dolphins in 1987. The Bills will also have a new quarterback when the division rivals clash, whether that’s newly signed Kevin Kolb or a player added in the draft.
- Miller Time: Lamar Miller will look to pick up where he left off against the Bills. The second-year running back, expected to start at running back for the Dolphins, had the best game of his rookie season against Buffalo, picking up 73 yards on 10 carries in the team’s 24-10 win in December.
Week 8, 10/27, at New England, 1:00
- Last year’s results against Patriots: The teams met twice in December, and the Patriots continued a recent string of success against the Dolphins, winning both games, 23-16 and 28-0, respectively.
- This will be the first year since 2008 the Dolphins don’t travel to Foxboro in December — a game remembered for the Dolphins’ unveiling of the Wildcat formation
Week 9, 10/31, vs. Cincinnati, 8:25
- Trick or Treat: The Dolphins host the Bengals on Halloween night. The last time the Dolphins played on Halloween was in 2010, also against the Bengals, a 22-14 win
- Kevin Coyle faces his former team — he was previously a defensive coordinator for the Bengals — for the second consecutive season
- Last Played: The Dolphins defeated the Bengals in 2012, 17-13, against Cincinnati, a team that finished 10-6 and made it to the playoffs
Week 10, 11/11, vs. Tampa Bay, 8:40
- Monday Night Twice: The Dolphins wrap up their primetime schedule, at home, against an intra-state opponent. The Dolphins last played twice on Monday Night Football in 2011, but it will be the first time since 1998 that the franchise has played two Monday Night Football road games.
- The only other time the two teams played a Monday Night game in Tampa: Nov. 29, 1982
- Last played: Dolphins defeat the Buccaneers, 25-23, on Nov. 15, 2009
Week 11, 11/17, vs. San Diego, 1:00
- Streaky series: The Chargers have won the last two games in the regular season series, ending what had been a seven-game winning streak for the Dolphins
- Last played: San Diego defeats the Dolphins, 26-16, in Matt Moore’s first appearance in a Dolphins uniform. He finished 17-of-26 for 167 yards and an interception in relief of an injured Chad Henne.
Week 12, 11/24, vs. Carolina, 1:00
- Staying Perfect: The Dolphins have never lost a regular season game against the Panthers. They have a 4-0 lead in the all-time series.
- Last played: Dolphins won a primetime game, on NFL Network, 24-17, on Nov. 19, 2009
Week 13, 12/1, at New York Jets, 1:00; 12/29, vs. Jets, 1:00
- Trading Places: Tight end Dustin Keller headed south down I-95 this offseason, signing with the Dolphins after spending his first five NFL seasons with the Jets.
- Last year’s results: Jets win Week 3, 23-20, in overtime, but the Dolphins earn the split in New York, winning convincingly, 30-9.
Week 14, 12/8, at Pittsburgh, 1:00
- Wallace Returns: Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace, one of the team’s prized free-agent acquisitions, will line up against a group of guys he knows well — from practice. The former Steeler returns to Heinz Field as a visitor for the first time.
- Brotherly Love: Mike and Maurkice Pouncey will face off for the first time in their professional careers. In fact, it’s the first time they will share a football field since they were college teammates at the University of Florida
- Last Played: Pittsburgh defeated the Dolphins, 23-22, only after a controversial ruling on what appeared to be a Ben Roethlisberger fumble set up a Jeff Reed game-winning field goal.
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