Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots Prediction, Pick and Preview, September 12: NFL Week 1
- Sep 11, 2021, 9:05:03 PM
Credit: photo by Kevin R. Wexler-NorthJersey.com
|Time||4:25 p.m. EST|
|Dolphins money line||+155|
|Dolphins spread||+3 (+100)|
|Patriots money line||-155|
|Patriots spread||-2.5 (-120)|
|Over / under||43.5|
2020 season stats
|Road / home record||5-3||5-3|
|Points per game||25.3||20.4|
|Points allowed per game||21.1||22.1|
|Pass yard per game||234||181|
|Rush yards per game||106||147|
|Total yards per game||339||327|
|Total yards allowed per game||368||354|
The Patriots seemed to have found their successor and new long-term plan at quarterback in Mac Jones. For his first test of the season, the rookie out of Alabama will take on division rivals Miami Dolphins and his former Roll Tide teammate and predecessor, Tua Tagovailoa.
The Dolphins ended the 2020 season with a 10-6 record - their first season over .500 since they ended with the same record in 2016 - and barely missed out on a Wild Card spot. They did this while juggling journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick and rookie Tua throughout the season. Fitzpatrick has since moved on and Tua has been named the #1 going forward.
The Patriots found themselves in unfamiliar territory finishing 7-9 and ending their dominance of the AFC East. It was their first season with a losing record since Bill Belichick's first year as head coach of the franchise in 2000. Former MVP Cam Newton lined up under center last season but was nothing close to his MVP form. The Pats chose to draft a quarterback with their first pick of the 2021 draft and after a preseason battle, it seems like the rookie will be the new face of the franchise at quarterback.
Miami's quarterback carousel-led offense averaged 25 points per game in 2020 ranking 14th in the league. Their offense was predicated mainly so on their running game and their feature back Myles Gaskin. Gaskin has had some injury issues in his two years in the league missing six games last season but rushing for 584 off 142 snaps. He's expected to take a bigger leap in 2021 once he can remain on the field but will be competing with former Ram Malcolm Brown and Salvon Ahmed. The Dolphins also added some other offensive options in the form of Jacoby Brissett from the Colts as back to Tua and drafted Jaylen Waddle a former receiver of Tua's in Alabama.
The Patriots were one of the worst teams offensively in the NFL last season. They averaged a mere 20 points a game and had one of the worst wide receiving corps which ranked 30th in the league. Belichick made many offensive additions in the offseason, Mac Jones being the most notable. Outside of the new quarterback, Belichick solidified the wide receiver room bringing in Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne and tights ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. They traded Sony Michel to the Rams, a clear indication that Damien Harris will continue to lead the backfield.
Since Brian Flores took over as head coach in Miami from his role as defensive coordinator at New England, he's made a habit of bringing over a few of his former defensive players from the Patriots. He added linebacker Elandon Roberts, strong safety Eric Rowe, outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy - who left to return to the Patriots after one season as a Dolphin - and continued that trend this season with the additions of Jason McCourty and Adam Butler. They also have one of the best corner duos in the league in Byron Jones the former Cowboy and Xavien Howard who led the league in interceptions last season with ten.
Belichick believes in a solid defense and last year the Pats were without some of their key defensive players. The Pats had the most players sitting out the season due to Covid and a number of those came on the defensive side of the ball. One welcomed return this season is inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower and with the addition of edge rusher Matthew Judon from Baltimore, New England have a familiar look on defense once again. They did lose some pieces to Miami and Patrick Chung retired at the end of last season. Corner J.C Jackson was right behind Xavien Howard with nine picks last season and Jalen Mills joins from Philadelphia to complete the corner duo.
Tua had a really inconsistent 2020 season characterized by Flores' decision to play Fitzpatrick as a pinch quarterback. Tua is slated to be the starter this season but coming up against a solid Belichick led defense might be a very tall order. New England look completely new on offense, but Mac Jones has shown some chemistry with his receivers in the preseason and has fit in very well. Flores will be very aware of what Belichick is capable of, but with so many names missing from their wide receiver room for week one including Davante Parker, Preston Williams and Allen Hurns it may be a bit too much to ask rookie Jaylen Waddles and Myles Gaskin to carry this offense against a stout run defense.
PICK: Patriots (-155)
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