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Dolphins preseason schedule: Breaking down the four games

The Miami Dolphins open their 2015 preseason schedule tonight with a game against the Chicago Bears. We look at the team's four preseason games.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

2015 Dolphins Preseason schedule

PSW1: Aug 13 - @ Chicago Bears
What to expect: Starters will not play long, but expect some of the positions battles to hang in there longer than the rest of the first string. Players like Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner, and Jamil Douglas could see plenty of reps, and could rotate in and out, in order for the Dolphins to get a good look at them in game situations. Things will probably be sloppy, especially later in the game as guys press too hard to try to make an impression.

PSW2: Aug 22 - @ Carolina Panthers
What to expect: The starters will play a few series, probably stretching into the second quarter. The Dolphins coaching staff has said they expect to have their opening day starting lineup set before the third preseason game, so this will be the final contest for players to make a case for themselves as the top option at their respective positions. If it is a close battle, again expect the players involved to play a little longer than the rest of the starters.

PSW3: Aug 29 - vs. Atlanta Falcons
What to expect: The ever important third preseason game is the "dress rehearsal" contest for the team. The starters will play throughout the first half, and likely come back out to start the third quarter. The team will look to shake off any remaining rust and make sure they are ready for Week 1 of the regular season. This will be the closest the team comes to playing a competitive, actual game during the Preseason. This game is also the final contest before the first round of roster cuts are due, so when the backups take over in the third quarter, expect a lot of players to be trying to get themselves noticed.

75-man cuts: Sep 1
What to expect: There will be a surprise cut or two in this round. If the team has made a decision on a bubble player, and that player could catch on with another team, this is the time to release him, if you want to take care of him.

PSW4: Sept 3 - vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
What to expect: Most people will look at this game as the last chance for a bubble player to make an impact. That may be true, but most of the decisions on who will be on the 53-man roster are likely already done prior to this game. The coaches could be looking for that one last flash from someone, but really this is just the final game in which special teams and depth players get an extended chance to play before the season begins. Expect the starters to likely only play one series - if even that.

53-man cuts: Sep 5
What to expect: Blood shed. There will be 22 players who were on the roster for the game two days before who will suddenly be looking for a job. The team will be able to sign some of those players (10 total spots) back to the practice squad starting on September 6.

Dolphins regular season schedule:

W1: Sep 13 - @ Washington Redskins
W2: Sep 20 - @ Jacksonville Jaguars
W3: Sep 27 - vs. Buffalo Bills
W4: Oct 4 - vs. New York Jets (London)
W6: Oct 18 - @ Tennessee Titans
W7: Oct 25 - vs. Houston Texans
W8: Oct 29 - @ New England Patriots (TNF)
W9: Nov 8 - @ Buffalo Bills
W10: Nov 15 - @ Philadelphia Eagles
W11: Nov 22 - vs. Dallas Cowboys
W12: Nov 29 - @ New York Jets
W13: Dec 6 - vs. Baltimore Ravens
W14: Dec 14 - vs. New York Giants (MNF)
W15: Dec 20 - @ San Diego Chargers
W16: Dec 27 - vs. Indianapolis Colts
W17: Jan 3 - vs. New England Patriots