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NFL Miami Dolphins

NFL Schedule Release: The Miami Dolphins’ 5 Biggest Games of 2014

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NFL Schedule Release: The Miami Dolphins' 5 Biggest Games of 2014

Brent Grimes
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The dates and times for all 16 games of the Miami Dolphins' 2014 season are now set. Here are the Dolphins' five biggest games in their bid to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2008.

5. Week 9: vs. San Diego Chargers

Brian Hartline
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

5. Week 9: vs. San Diego Chargers

Brian Hartline
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins get the Chargers at home for the second consecutive season. A 10 a.m. kickoff according to California time could be particularity advantageous to the Dolphins considering the Chargers will make the dreaded cross-country trip to South Florida. The Dolphins and Chargers will both enter the season as potential wildcard teams. The winner of this game would obtain the upper hand in any head-to-head tie-breaking scenario.

4. Week 14: vs. Baltimore Ravens

Ryan Tannehill
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

4. Week 14: vs. Baltimore Ravens

Ryan Tannehill
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

This early December matchup will potentially feature two wildcard candidates. The winner of this game could take a huge step towards the playoffs while the loser could see its playoff dreams begin to evaporate. It's a swing game that might turn out to be a defining moment for the Dolphins in their effort to become something more than mediocre or average.

3. Week 11: vs. Buffalo Bills

Charles Clay
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

3. Week 11: vs. Buffalo Bills

Charles Clay
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

No Dolphins fan needs to be reminded about what happened last year to justify this game being ranked this high. But I'll recap anyway. The Dolphins were swept by the Bills in 2013, including a brutal shutout loss with the playoffs on the line. Redemption is in order. This also happens to be the Dolphins' only home prime-time game of the season. A loss would be a potentially devastating blow.

2. Week 1: vs. New England Patriots

Michael Thomas
Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

2. Week 1: vs. New England Patriots

Michael Thomas
Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins open the season in style, at home versus the rival Patriots. What better way to jump start the season than to knock off the defending AFC East champions? It's a 1 p.m. kickoff so expect plenty of heat and humidity. That bodes well for the Dolphins. But Miami will need much more than a little heat to win. The Dolphins must play one of their best games of the season too.

1. Week 17. vs. New York Jets

Reshad Jones
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

1. Week 17. vs. New York Jets

Reshad Jones
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Week 17 games have the potential to be a team's most or least relevant outing of the season depending on what transpires during the first 16 weeks. The Dolphins probably aren't good enough to have something locked up by then and they might not be bad enough to be completely eliminated (although that scenario is more likely) going into Week 17. Thus, a postseason berth may be on the line. Oh yeah, it's the Jets.