A 2-2 opening week isn’t the most ideal way to commence another year of betting the NFL, but given the fact the Packers were a point off from covering, and Carolina let their win slip away late – I’ll take it in an always unpredictable Week 1. Onto Week 2 where we’ll turn our attention to an all-AFC East divisional showdown between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots, without Tom Brady.
What a show New England put on last week with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm under centre. The Arizona Cardinals are no joke, yet the Pats went into their stadium and executed a near-perfect gameplan to dispose of one of the main contenders from the NFC. The Pats remain one of the league’s best.
Miami on the other hand opened up with an impressive defensive performance on the road against the Seattle Seahawks. That’s undoubtedly one of the toughest spots to open a season, yet the Dolphins were in the game and had a shot at an improbable victory. Though their offense did sputter, it’s to be expected against the Seahawks’ stop unit. This week against New England, expect more out of Ryan Tannehill & co.
It’s always exciting when divisional opponents try and dethrone the great Patriots dynasty, and Week 2 will be no different. The Dolphins showed some intriguing fight last week and it should make for a thrilling clash on Sunday afternoon. Read on below for a full game preview and official selection.
Dolphins vs. Patriots Betting Odds:
Miami Dolphins +7 (-125)
@ New England Patriots -7 (+105)
Over 42 (-110)
Under 42 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Dolphins vs. Patriots Pick:
Though New England’s Week 1 victory in Arizona was definitely impressive if not unexpected, it is worth mentioning that the Cards’ defense does have some holes and Carson Palmer is yet another year older. While this is likely a playoff team, we’re talking about – many are making it out to seem like the depleted Pats throttled the Cards in a Super Bowl preview. As such, New England enters their Week 2 divisional clash with Miami amid a wave of momentum, something their young QB in Jimmy Garoppolo is unaccustomed to dealing with.
Garoppolo is still prone to mistakes and is being ‘protected’ by an offensive line with some glaring issues. That is simply a huge flaw and a big-time match-up problem as the Pats prepare to take on the dominant front-seven of the Dolphins in the trenches. The Miami trio of Mario Williams, Cameron Wake, and Ndamukong Suh are as ferocious as it gets in the NFL and I really cannot see how the Pats will stop all three on Sunday afternoon. I expect the Dolphins’ defensive pressure to dictate this game and force Garoppolo into all kinds of hurried situations, potentially resulting in mistakes and turnovers. Quietly the Dolphins possess a great defensive unit across the board, and for as wise as Belichick is, I can’t see the Pats moving the chains all that easily on Sunday.
For Miami, last week was tough sledding against one of the league’s top defensive units in Seattle. It’s a tough place to play, but Miami did acquaint themselves well in a hostile environment. That should serve as great preparation for this week’s encounter in Foxborough. It’s also worth noting that Miami’s pass/run blocking should be better suited to deal with New England opposed to Seattle’s. New England doesn’t bring nearly as much pressure and enter this contest a depleted group. As a result, look for Tannehill to take more shots downfield as he does have a wealth of talented receivers around him. One area the Pats struggled in last week was containing the run game and David Johnson. While Arian Foster isn’t as good as he used to be, the veteran back could be in for a big game on Sunday afternoon.
Ultimately, a full touchdown spread for this game seems a bit too high for my liking. The Pats are still the beasts of the AFC East, but without Brady and travelling across the country to take on a hungry Dolphins squad won’t be easy. Miami improved over the off-season, showed quite well in Seattle, and the team has clearly responded to head coach Adam Gase. The Pats’ O-Line is just a mess right now, and the Dolphins are the perfect team to take full advantage of that. I’d recommend getting the hook to 7-point with a bit more juice, and playing the Dolphins plus the points – maybe even a bit on the moneyline as well!
PICK = Dolphins +7 (-125)