The first Sunday of the NFL season is finally upon us. After months of debating whether this season was ever going to happen, or be delayed, the NFL is scheduled to feature 13 games. The KC Chiefs downed the Houston Texans 34-20 on Thursday night to open the season. They look sharp as ever and are still the team to beat.
I was calling for a 34-27 or 27-20 game, so while the Texans didn’t cover, I at least had the right idea. As far as Sunday is concerned, the Dolphins-Patriots and Buccaneers-Saints games will likely get the most attention, for obvious reasons.
How are the Patriots going to look without Tom Brady, and how are the Buccaneers going to look without Bill Belichick? It isn’t going to take one day to settle anything. I know social media will say otherwise, but you have to be careful and not overreact to anything that happens in Week 1.
I put out a PSA in Week 1 every season. Don’t take the oddsmakers bait next week solely based on performances this week. Sure, there will be good teams that continue to play well, and bad teams might continue to struggle, but point spreads can still be skewed based on one week of play.
Some people are going to be dead on regarding the Patriots this season, and others are going to be way off. It feels like there’s a camp who believes the Patriots are going to roll with Cam Newton and it’ll be business as usual, and then there’s others who think the Patriots are done for without Brady.
I don’t know if the Patriots are going to roll, but they are going to be in contention for the division with the Buffalo Bills. The AFC East should be the closest it’s ever been in years. Belichick and Josh McDaniels have to reinvent themselves with Newton at the helm.
Belichick always loved the idea of Tim Tebow, so a running style quarterback hasn’t been lost on him. Tebow tried out for the Patriots years ago in the preseason, but his talent had diminished. Newton on the other hand is motivated, and it was only two years ago that he put up impressive numbers.
Newton will make his first start for the Pats on Sunday afternoon, while Ryan Fitzpatrick is expected for the Miami Dolphins. Fifth overall pick, Tua Tagovailoa, will sit and learn on the bench. Head below for our free Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots pick for NFL Week 1 on September 13, 2020.
Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots NFL Week 1 Betting Odds:
Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots Prediction:
There are two ways you can look at this if you’re a Patriots’ fan on Sunday. You can be a pessimist and say the offense is going to be sloppy with a new quarterback, or the optimist can believe the Dolphins aren’t going to know what to expect from the Patriots’ offense. And that is important to note going into Sunday.
The Dolphins can’t watch tape of previous Patriots games from last season or the year before or even the year before that. Their offense is going to be revamped to accommodate Newton’ skillset. In other words, the Dolphins don’t have much to go on.
The Dolphins’ new defensive coordinator, Josh Boyer, probably had to watch tape of Newton from when he was with the Panthers and some Patriots games as well. There isn’t even any preseason play from Newton with the Pats.
I don’t think Belichick minds the absence of the preseason at all. He was always one to hold his cards close to him in the preseason anyway. That said, Newton has never worked with these receivers in a game situation, and even Brady had issues getting in sync with this group last season. If Newton can get on the same page early, then the Patriots will be fine in Week 1 and beyond.
When Cam was fully healthy in 2018, he passed for 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions on 67.94% completions. He also rushed for 488 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground. If that’s the quarterback that the Patriots are getting, then look out AFC East and the rest of the NFL.
Expect the Dolphins to contain their offense in the first half. I don’t expect much from the Pats, but I can see a couple of surprises from McDaniels as the game progresses to catch the Dolphins napping. Defensive additions of former Patriot Kyle Van Noy and Cowboy Byron Jones should help the Dolphins on Sunday.
My main concern with the Dolphins is giving Bill Belichick months to prepare for this game. The Patriots smoked the Steelers at Gillette in the season opener last season, 33-3. And Belichick has the benefit of preparing against a former assistant in Brian Flores. He should have some idea on how to prepare for the Dolphins’ head coach.
You can’t discount the amount of motivation from the Patriots this season, and it goes beyond Cam, too. They all have something to prove without Brady under center. Julian Edelman has to be one of the most motivated players in the league going into 2020. Look for the Dolphins to keep things interesting for a while on Sunday, with the Patriots pulling away for a 24-14 win to open the Cam Newton era in Foxborough.