Week 1 of the NFL season is here and that means the New England Patriots will start the post-Tom Brady era with a week one match-up with Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.
Last season the Patriots won another AFC East title with a 12-4 record while the Dolphins went 5-11 en-route to a top-five draft pick that netted them Tua Tagovailoa who will start the season as the back-up QB behind veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. As for the Patriots, the QB under center is going to be former NFL league MVP, Cam Newton.
No one really knows what the Patriots offense will look like or what the outcome of this game will be. New England still has a future Hall of Famer, Bill Belichick, on the sidelines but in addition to Brady, the team has had a mass exodus on defense driven by COVID-19 related opt-outs. All-time the Patriots are 53-56 against Miami and 34-16 in Foxborough. In the last match-up, the Dolphins got the better of the Patriots in what might have been a precursor to New England’s first-round playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans. That last meeting which took place on December 29th at Gillette ended in a 24-27 Patriots loss in a game where Tom Brady threw a pick-six to former Patriots corner Eric Rowe.
So with so much uncertainty driven by personnel changes and the lack of a preseason one of the better barometers of the game might be the betting lines. The Patriots NFL spreads for their opening game has New England as 6.5 point favorites at home on the major sportsbooks with the over/under between 43 and 43.5 depending on the platform. These odds aren’t really a shock as the Dolphins under Fitzpatrick will likely be a similar team to what they were last season. That being said, watch out for Fitzmagic against a Patriots defense that other than Stephon Gilmore is a complete unknown. New England’s offense is another major question mark with a real lack of weapons added and if anything is in a worse position than it was at the end of last year.
New England Offense Lacks Bankable Players
The only bankable weapons Newton has at his disposal is Julian Edelman and James White. There is certainly upside in players like N’Keal Harry, Sonny Michel, and the young tight end group but nothing that provides comfort at the moment with no preseason action on tape.
“I think it feels like it normally does this time of year,” said Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick on if September feels like a preseason of sorts. “It’s certainly September, it’s time to start playing real games so feels about the same. It’s always important to improving all the way through the start of training camp at the end of the season to our final practice, so definitely want to try to keep improving in every area on a daily basis.
New England’s week one match-up with Miami will kick off at 1:00 p.m. on CBS with Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, and Tracy Wolfson on the call.