The Miami Dolphins didn't necessarily get a lot of love when it comes to national television games in the 2021 regular season, but they'll be on national TV for a second consecutive preseason.
The Dolphins' third of three preseason games, against the Cincinnati Bengals, will be televised by CBS. The game is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 29 at 4 p.m. ET and will be one of five preseason games around the NFL to be nationally televised this year.
That game will feature the top two quarterbacks taken in the 2020 draft, the Dolphins' Tua Tagovailoa and the Bengals' Joe Burrow.
Before the preseason was canceled last year because of COVID-19, the Dolphins appeared on FOX for their preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019. That game served as a dress rehearsal for FOX in terms of logistics of broadcasting from Hard Rock Stadium, where FOX television Super Bowl LIV at the conclusion of that season.
The Dolphins will have their bye in Week 14, making it the latest bye in team history, but there's a point that should be noted about this.
For the first time, each team will have two weeks before the end of the preseason and the start of the regular season.
The preseason previously ended on the Thursday before the NFL kickoff game, a much more desirable approach from this vantage point. The NFL easily could have simply started the preseason a week later to make up for the reduction of the preseason schedule from four full weeks to three but instead chose to go with the bigger gap before the start of the regular season.
THE WILD CARD GAMES
As mentioned earlier, the Jets at Dolphins game in Week 15 is one of five that will be in the mix to be played Saturday, Dec. 18 instead of Dec. 19.
The other four will be Carolina at Buffalo, Las Vegas at Cleveland, New England at Indianapolis, and Washington at Philadelphia.
The Dolphins were involved in a similar scenario in Week 16 last season and their game at Las Vegas ended up chosen as the Saturday night game because it had the biggest playoff implications.
Though things can change because of flex scheduling (in effect starting with Week 5), the Dolphins rank in the bottom half of the league in terms of scheduled prime-time appearances with their two.
That ranks tied for 23rd in the league and has to be considered pretty surprising given that the Dolphins were 10-6 last season.
Non-playoff teams with worse 2020 records than the Dolphins who got more scheduled prime-time appearances included Dallas (5), the New York Giants (3), Minnesota (4), Arizona (3), San Francisco (5), New England (3), Las Vegas (3) and the L.A. Chargers (3).
In the case of teams like Dallas, the New York Giants and New England, those are teams that will attract TV ratings no matter what, but the one that jumps out here is San Francisco's five prime-time games. This clearly has to be viewed as the NFL believing that big things are in store for the 49ers in 2021, a sentiment obviously not shared when it comes to the Dolphins.