The first Monday night game of the year features divisional foes the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins. The Patriots once again come into this year with a lot of promise, and a Super Bowl on their minds under Tom Brady. Meanwhile, the Dolphins just want to stay relevant in the division. Like so many teams, the Patriots have steamrolled through the Dolphins with ease the majority of games. Since 2006, the Patriots own a 7-3 edge, and in many of them, it wasn’t even close. For instance, last year the Patriots won 41-14 and 38-7, in 2008 48-28 and 38-13. Chad Henne will try and buck this trend in the confines of their own home in Miami.
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Patriots vs Dolphins Betting Odds:
New England Patriots -6.5
@ Miami Dolphins +6.5
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Patriots vs Dolphins Picks Against The Spread:
Tom Brady will once again have an array of weapons surrounding him, the most notable being newcomer Chad Ochocinco. They didn’t look too comfortable together in the preseason, so it will be something to keep an eye on. Wes Welker appears to be at 100 percent since sustaining a head injury against the Detroit Lions in the preseason. Welker has been the go-to player for Tom Brady since coming over from the Dolphins. The running game for the Patriots has never really been their strong suit, but BenJarvus Green-Ellis quietly ran for 1000-plus yards in a pass happy offense. If the 2011 draft is any indication, it appears the Patriots want a strong run game as well by drafting Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen. It really comes down to one thing with the Patriots though, if Tom Brady stays on his feet he is going to pick you apart. If you get pressure, Brady looks human. I know it’s only preseason, but in the 3rd preseason game he looked lost against the Lions pass rush. This same thing can be noted for the Patriots failures in the playoffs recently. Against the Jets and Ravens, Brady had no answer for the pressure. The Patriots defense I believe could be a sleeper this year, depending on the effort they get from Albert Haynesworth. If Haynesworth and Vince Wilfork dominate this line, it will be tough chugging for the Dolphins already inept running game.
To the delight of many Dolphins fans (sarcasm), Henne will have another opportunity this year to prove why he is worthy of being a starting quarterback in the NFL. The Dolphins have a few serviceable options for Henne to pass to. Most notably, former Denver Bronco Brandon Marshall. However, with Devin McCourty blanketing Marshall, things won’t be very easy for him and Henne. The defense is the unit that is supposed to hold them in games, but the problem is they are just average. They finished around the middle of the pack last year in team defense, and were 10th best in sacks. I’m not quite sure it will hinder the high octane Patriots too much. You need to have an elite pass rush to put a kink in their rhythm, and while the Dolphins are above average in this regard, Brady shouldn’t be bothered.
As I stated when opening this article, the Patriots are a team with their eyes on the Super Bowl. And the Dolphins are struggling to keep their heads above water. With a lack of a running game for the Dolphins, I am not quite sure how they are going to hang around at home. Henne is not the kind of quarterback that can take over a game; expect a few boos directed his way Monday night. Too much firepower for the Dolphins too contain in this one. Take the Patriots.