The Miami Dolphins schedule will be released by the NFL at 8 p.m. Thursday.
But portions of the schedule have begun to leak around the league and some of those portions involve the Dolphins.
This is what The Miami Herald has learned so far:
Last year the Dolphins bye week was, well, a disaster. Literally.
Hurricane Irma threatened South Florida the first week of the season and so the Dolphins home opener against Tampa Bay was postponed. It was moved to Week 11 when both teams had been scheduled for a bye.
That meant the Dolphins played 16 consecutive games.
That isn't supposed to happen this year at least not as it is scheduled. The Dolphins bye week this year will be the weekend of Nov. 18. That's Week 11.
So the Dolphins will play 10 games, get the bye week, then finish with six more games.
Much better than playing 16 in a row.
The Dolphins travel on the weekend following their bye. They got to Indianapolis on November 25, a few days after the Thanksgiving holiday.
In 2012, Andrew Luck was the first overall pick of the NFL draft. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was taken No. 8 overall by Miami.
To date, Tannehill and Luck are the only two quarterbacks taken in the first round of that draft that are still starters in the NFL. They are 1-1 in career games against each other.
I make a big deal later in this post about how the Dolphins won't be getting much of a weather advantage but neither suffering one in cold climes against division rivals New England and the New York Jets.
And now I find out from Buffalo sources the dates of those two games and that changes things.
The Dolphins will host the Bills on December 2. That should be just fine for a Bills team that made the playoffs in 2017 because December in South Florida is a wonder time of year. That will be a 1 p.m. game.
The problem is the Dolphins trip to Buffalo comes in the dead of winter. The Dolphins will close their 2018 season in Buffalo on Dec. 30. Despite the fact the game kicks off at 1 p.m. it should be frigid and windy in Orchard Park.
The Dolphins were swept by the Bills in 2017. And Miami has a 1-5 record in Buffalo the past six seasons, with the lone win coming in 2016.
The Dolphins had four prime time games in 2017 because the NFL schedule maker fancied the team a prime attraction, after it posted a 10-6 record in 2016.
But the Dolphins were a disappointing 1-3 in those prime time games on their way to a disappointing 6-10 season. This season the schedule maker has been more wary.
The Dolphins are currently scheduled to play only one prime time game: On October 25 at Houston against the Texans. That game will be broadcast on NFL Network and FOX.
The Miami Dolphins will open their season with a home game against the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 9. It marks the third consecutive year the Dolphins have played the Titans with each team winning one of those the past two seasons.
The Titans in 2018 will be starting over with new coach Mike Vrabel, a former New England Patriots linebacker and a Bill Belichick disciple.
The fact the Dolphins get an early season home opener is an advantage for a Miami team that trains in the South Florida heat and humidity.
The Dolphins are playing the NFC North this year. They will play at Minnesota and Green Bay and host Detroit and Chicago.
The Dolphins play at Green Bay on November 11.
The Dolphins play at Minnesota December 16. Yeah, cold outdoors but the game is indoors.
The Dolphins will host the Bears on Oct. 14.
The Dolphins will host Detroit on October 21.
The Dolphins will host both AFC Championship game teams -- the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jaguars game will be played either Dec. 22 or 23 depending on what the television networks decide based on what games they prefer to televise to the greatest part of the country. Obviously, if both the Jaguars and Dolphins have good records at the time, that will make the game a feature attraction.
If not...well, you know.
Miami will play at New England on Sept. 30 so no cold weather game in Foxboro this year.
The Patriots will travel to Miami on Dec. 9 so they won't broil in the heat.
So no obvious weather advantage for either team. There will be no weather advantage in the series between the Dolphins and Jets, either.
The Jets are scheduled to host the Dolphins on Sept. 16 in the second game of the year for both teams. This is good because all the New York-New Jersey area Dolphins fans won't have to bundle up for the now annual MetLife takeover in which they buy out significant portions of the stadium.
On the other hand, the Jets won't wilt in Miami weather either with an early-season hot weather game. The Dolphins will host the Jets on November 4.
The Dolphins' September dance card rounds out with a home game against the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 23 at 1 p.m.
So let's see, home against Tennessee and Oakland and on the road for two division games at New York and New England the first month of the season. Not a terrible way to begin the season.
The Raiders and Jets were both under .500 last season. The Patriots and Titans both made the playoffs.
October has now come into view: The Miami Herald has learned the Dolphins will play at Cincinnati on Oct. 7 at 1 p.m.
So this means the Dolphins will have back-to-back games at New England and Cincinnati, then be home two consecutive weeks for the Bears and Lions. As you already read, the prime time Thursday night game at Houston on Oct. 25 rounds out the month.
Did I mention a road Thursday night game isn't great?
This is the schedule so far
Sept. 9: Tennessee 1 p.m.
Sept. 16: at New York Jets 1 p.m.
Sept. 23: Oakland Raiders 1 p.m.
Sept. 30: at New England Patriots 1 p.m.
Oct. 7: at Cincinnati 1 p.m.
Oct. 14: Chicago Bears 1 p.m.
Oct. 21: Detroit Lions 1 p.m.
Oct. 25: at Houston 8:20 p.m. (NFLN/FOX)
Nov. 4: New York Jets 1 p.m.
Nov. 11: at Green Bay 1 p.m.
Nov. 18: BYE
Nov. 25: at Indianapolis Colts 1 p.m.
Dec. 2: Buffalo 1 p.m.
Dec. 9: New England Patriots 1 p.m.
Dec. 16: at Minnesota 1 p.m.
Dec 22 or 23: Jacksonville Jaguars TBA
Dec. 30: at Buffalo 1 p.m.