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Looking Ahead: Miami Dolphins opponents for the 2022 NFL season

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Sep 20, 2021; Green Bay, WIsconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates after a pass completion to wide receiver Davante Adams (not pictured) against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers/Appleton Post-Crescent via USA TODAY NETWORK

Sep 20, 2021; Green Bay, WIsconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates after a pass completion to wide receiver Davante Adams (not pictured) against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers/Appleton Post-Crescent via USA TODAY NETWORK

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The schedule won’t be released for a few more months, but we know which teams the Miami Dolphins will be playing against in 2022.

The Miami Dolphins had one of the more odd schedules in the NFL in 2021. A soft stretch on their calendar allowed them to impressively recover from an abysmal 1-7 start, and there was a point when they left Miami just once during a nearly six-week period.

The schedule for 2022 should be a little more “normal”, but the opponents look as though they’ll be a bit more formidable than they were in 2021. The AFC East could be one of the tougher divisions in the league next year, and the divisions that they play against are both black-and-blue and full of cold-weather cities. Whoever winds up being the new head coach of the Dolphins will have his hands full with a tougher schedule than what the team faced in Brian Flores’ final season.

Here is the list of 2022 opponents for the Miami Dolphins:

Josh Allen Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Usual Suspects:

Six of Miami’s seventeen games will be played against fellow AFC East teams, which could end up being one of the better divisions in the league if the Dolphins can show improvement.

Patriots – We thought that the Bills would be the class of the division for the foreseeable future, but Bill Belichick and the Patriots look as though they’ll be a factor just as they have been for the last two decades. The Dolphins book ended their 2021 with games against New England, and they’ll likely either open or close with the Patriots again in 2022.

Bills – The Bills have had the Dolphins number over the last few years. Since 2017, Miami is just 1-9 against Buffalo, including some of the most back-breaking losses for the Dolphins in recent memory. Josh Allen has played better against the Dolphins than he does against any other team, and Miami will have to get through him if they hope to ever make some noise in the division.

Jets – The Jets have been abysmal in recent memory, but they have the young players and draft capital necessary to make a turnaround. Zach Wilson had an up and (mostly) down rookie season, but he showed the promise that will allow him to be the guy going forward. 2022 will be the second season for head coach Robert Saleh, who will look to build on what minimal success he had in his first year.

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Butler, Heat blast past Celtics in Game 1

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The Miami Heat ripped Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals from the Boston Celtics in the third quarter.

Jimmy Butler scored 27 of his 41 points after the break, and Miami’s defense locked down Boston to flip an eight-point halftime deficit into a 17-point lead by the end of the third quarter in a 118-107 conquest.

The Celtics lost Al Horford to health and safety protocols in the hours before the series started and ruled Marcus Smart out with the right mid-foot sprain he suffered in Game 7 of their second-round playoff series. Whether they ran out of gas two days after their hard-fought battle with the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks or succumbed to Miami’s relentlessness, the Celtics collapsed after halftime and never recovered.

The Heat, who were also without Kyle Lowry (hamstring), found scoring from Tyler Herro (18 points, eight rebounds), Gabe Vincent (17 points) and Max Strus (11 points). Their defense changed the course of a game that nearly got away from them, amassing 12 blocks and forcing 16 turnovers (turned into 19 points).

The Celtics also lost center Robert Williams III with six minutes remaining in the game. He experienced cramping in his left leg, which also required meniscus surgery in March and suffered a bone bruise against the Bucks. After missing the last four games of the conference semifinals, Williams returned to the starting lineup against the Heat and anchored a defense that slowed Miami early, staking Boston to an 18-9 start.

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler registered the fifth 40-point playoff game of his career in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler registered the fifth 40-point playoff game of his career in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Herro, the Sixth Man of the Year, settled the Heat’s offense, totaling seven of his points and three of his assists in the first quarter to withstand Boston’s early onslaught and keep their deficit respectable, 28-25.

Jayson Tatum scored 21 of his 29 points in the first half, when the Celtics led by as many as 13 points and 62-54 at the break. But Miami never quit. Butler and Bam Adebayo totaled seven points on a 10-1 run to start the second half, giving the Heat their first lead since they inched ahead for 16 seconds in the first quarter.

Butler inspired a stifling defensive effort after Boston shot 59% from the field in the first half. Two straight steals led to four of his 11 points during Miami’s 22-2 start to the third quarter. The Celtics trailed, 76-64. When the third quarter was done, Boston had eight turnovers and just two field goals on 15 attempts.

The Heat’s lead reached 96-76 on three Herro free throws to start the fourth quarter. Boston was lost. Jaylen Brown could not find any seams in the defense, and the Celtics were relying on Payton Pritchard, Daniel Theis and Aaron Nesmith off the bench — three players on the fringes of their healthy rotation.

The Celtics scratched back within nine points with seven minutes remaining and 114-107 just inside of two minutes, but Butler and the Heat had an answer for every run. His block of Pritchard erased Boston’s final hope, and his last-minute layup gave him the fifth 40-point game of his playoff career and third this year.

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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

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Cubs pitcher Brandon Hughes makes MLB history in remarkable debut

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Brandon Hughes makes MLB history in Cubs’ debut originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

His Major League debut occurred more suddenly than he would have liked on Tuesday night, but Chicago Cubs pitcher Brandon Hughes made the most of the occasion as he made big-league history at the Friendly Confines.

Hughes, called up to the Cubs on Tuesday before the team’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, was summoned into the game when relief pitcher Daniel Norris was forced to leave the contest because of soreness in his right Achilles tendon.

Needless to say, Hughes made quite the impression, as he struck out the final two batters of the inning and then struck out the side in the seventh inning.

In addition to being impressive, the feat was actually historic. According to STATS Inc. (as cited by Meghan Montemurro of the Chicago Tribune) , Hughes is the first pitcher in modern baseball history to record at least five outs and to have them all come via strikeout in his MLB debut.

Infielder Christopher Morel, who was called up along with Hughes on Tuesday, also made his big-league debut, and he joined the party by smacking a home run into the left field bleachers in the eighth inning. In doing so, he became the first Cubs player since Willson Contreras to hit a home run in his first Major League at-bat.

To put the icing on the proverbial cake, the Cubs blanked the Pirates for the second consecutive night, winning 7-0 at Wrigley Field.

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Judge homers twice as Yankees edge Orioles 5-4

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BALTIMORE (AP) — The new wall in left field at Camden Yards served its purpose, denying Aaron Judge a home run on his 399-foot drive in the first inning.

“I learned my lesson and decided to go to right field after that,” he said.

The ballpark couldn’t hold Judge’s next two hits, a pair of solo homers that helped the New York Yankees to a 5-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night. Judge and reliever Michael King were the biggest stars of this victory, New York’s 20th in its last 23 games.

Judge came within a few feet of a three-homer game. His bid in the first hit high off the wall — which was moved back and made taller before this season. He settled for an RBI double, then went deep in the third and fifth to increase his major league-leading home run total to 14.

Judge added a single in the eighth for his third four-hit game and first since 2019.

Ramón Urías homered for the Orioles, who matched a season high with their fifth straight loss. Down 5-3, Baltimore managed a run against Aroldis Chapman in the ninth on a two-out double by Ryan McKenna. With men on second and third, Chapman retired Cedric Mullins on a foul pop for his ninth save in nine chances.

Jameson Taillon (4-1) allowed three runs in five-plus innings. King came on after a leadoff double in the sixth and retired all nine of his hitters with six strikeouts before giving way to Chapman.

After Urías tied the game at 1 with a homer in the second, Judge began hitting to parts of the ballpark that are unchanged this year. His home run to right-center made it 2-1 in the third. After a pair of Baltimore runs in the fourth, Judge tied it with a shot to center.

In the sixth, DJ LeMahieu came up with the bases loaded and one out against Dillon Tate (0-2) and put the Yankees ahead with a groundball. Baltimore then pitched to Judge with first base open, and he grounded out.

An error by Urías at shortstop with two out in the seventh gifted New York an unearned run that made it 5-3.

TIDBITS

Judge’s two homers went 410 and 422 feet, according to Statcast, after his double was just under 400. Judge’s reaction to the new dimensions at Camden Yards was about what you’d expect from a right-handed slugger.

“It’s a travesty man. I’m pretty upset,” Judge said. “It looks like a create-a-park now. I didn’t like it because I always like coming here and playing here. Hopefully maybe in a couple years they can put it back in.”

King induced 10 swings and misses, equaling the total by all of Baltimore’s pitchers combined.

“He’s been one of the best relievers in the league, especially considering the amount of innings we’ve been able to get from him,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Really impact innings.”

MOVES

Before the game, the Orioles designated LHP Logan Allen for assignment and optioned INF Rylan Bannon to Triple-A Norfolk. They selected the contract of LHP Nick Vespi and recalled RHP Logan Gillaspie from Norfolk.

Gillaspie pitched the final two innings, keeping the Yankees off the scoreboard in his big league debut.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: OF Austin Hays (hand) returned after missing four games. He misplayed Judge’s drive in the first, allowing it to bounce past him off the wall, but he made up for that by throwing Judge out at third when the slugger tried for a triple.

UP NEXT

The Yankees send Gerrit Cole (3-0) to the mound Wednesday night against Jordan Lyles (2-3) of the Orioles. Cole has a 1.42 ERA over his last four starts.

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Follow Noah Trister at http://www.Twitter.com/noahtrister

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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