In a very peculiar switch, the Miami Dolphins will open the 2021 regular season schedule with the exact same first two weeks as in 2020, meaning a trip to New England in Week 1 and the home opener against Buffalo in Week 2.
It will be ninth time the Dolphins face the Patriots in a regular season opener, with each team winning four times.
Here's a look back at those previous eight Week 1 Dolphins-Patriots matchups:
1974 at New England — Patriots 34, Dolphins 24
The two-time defending Super Bowl champion Dolphins found themselves trailing 31-10 in the fourth quarter before a comeback effort fell short. Larry Csonka had two rushing touchdowns for the Dolphins, but New England ran for 196 yards.
1987 at New England — Patriots 28, Dolphins 21
The Dolphins took a 21-7 first-half lead behind three touchdown passes from Dan Marino, including two to Mark Duper, but the Patriots came back with two fourth-quarter touchdowns. The game-winner was a 20-yard interception return by defensive back Ronnie Lippett.
1990 at New England — Dolphins 27, Patriots 24
This was perhaps the best Dolphins performance for 1989 first-round pick Sammie Smith, who rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown. The Dolphins overcame a 21-6 first-half deficit behind two TD passes from Marino, including a game-winning 7-yarder to fullback Tony Paige.
1994 at Miami — Dolphins 39, Patriots 35
This was one of the signature moments of Marino's Hall of Fame career. In his first regular season game since he tore his Achilles tendon the previous October, Marino put on a dazzling display in a shootout with Patriots QB Drew Bledsoe. Marino passed for 421 yards and five touchdowns, including a game-winning 35-yard connection with Irving Fryar on a fourth-and-5 — play number 6 in our ongoing countdown of the top 100 greatest plays in Dolphins history. Bledsoe was equally brilliant, passing for 473 yards and five touchdowns.
1996 at Miami — Dolphins 24, Patriots 10
This was Jimmy Johnson's first game as Dolphins head coach, and he won it thanks to a strong defensive effort and a 115-yard rushing performance by rookie Karim Abdul-Jabbar. The Dolphins held Bledsoe and the Patriots to 229 total yards and forced four turnovers.
2011 at Miami — Patriots 38, Dolphins 24
Quarterback Chad Henne had the best performance of his Dolphins tenure in this Monday night opener as he threw for 416 yards and rushed for 59 more, but the defense had no answers for Tom Brady. The ageless quarterback passed for 517 yards and four touchdowns, including a crushing 99-yard hook-up with Wes Welker when the Dolphins still were hoping for a comeback down 31-17 in the fourth quarter and New England pinned at its 1-yard line.
2014 at Miami — Dolphins 33, Patriots 20
The second half of this opener just might be the best half the Dolphins have played since the start of the millennium. After trailing 20-10 at halftime, Miami outscored New England 23-0 the rest of the way behind the running of newcomer Knowshon Moreno (134 yards) and a defensive effort led by Cameron Wake (two sacks, two forced fumbles).
2020 — Patriots 21, Dolphins 11
This was an unusual opener with no fans in attendance at Gillette Stadium because of COVID-19. Quarterback Cam Newton completed 15 of 19 passes for New England, but he made his biggest impact in the running game as he helped the Patriots finish with 215 rushing yards. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, was picked off three times.