Sunday, September 7, 2014

Week 1 picks: Patriots at Dolphins


Publisher Nick St. Denis, associate editor Dan Begnoche and senior writer Sean Donovan pick the first AFC East battle of the year, between New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins.

Sean's take
The true intrigue of this game lies in what kind of offense the Dolphins will unveil; players and coaches alike have noted that only a small percentage of Bill Lazor's playbook has been exposed in the preseason. Preparing for that which has not been seen is a tough task even for a brilliant game-planner like Bill Belichick, but he now has a core of talent that will allow for creative responses to Miami's new plays. That, and a dominating rushing attack allows New England to coast to a comfortable division road win.
Prediction: Patriots 31, Dolphins 17

Dan's take
Tom Brady may be coming into Sunday's game with a sore calf, but his ability to take down divisional opponents has rarely been a problem. With a revamped defense and a deeper receiving crew, New England will be looking to jump on Miami early and often, and then rely on possibly its strongest secondary ever to keep things in check. For the Dolphins, the name of the game will be no mistakes and lots of sacks, as Cameron Wake and the defense try to mimic their play from last December and give Tannehill and his new offensive line a shot to stay in the game.
Prediction: Patriots 28, Dolphins 17

Nick's take
The Dolphins got some good news two weeks ago when they found of the Patriots traded their best offensive lineman, Logan Mankins, as Miami's versatile defensive front will be New England's biggest challenge in this one. However, Brady seems to have found comfort in a pass-catching corps that seemed questionable heading into the summer. Darrelle Revis will be tasked with slowing down the speedy Dolphins wideout Mike Wallace, though Belichick may stick him on tight end Charles Clay from time to time, as the Patriots have made it clear they're wary of the H-back-style pass-catcher.
Prediction: Patriots 30, Dolphins 20

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