Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots Matchup Preview (9/12/21): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)

Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots Matchup Preview (9/12/21)

There’s nothing like beginning the season with a game against your division rival. There’s just something about the warm sunshine, crisp air, and beginning of the season vibes that get the players and fans buzzing. Talk is cheap in the NFL and both teams get to make their case for the playoffs opening day. The Dolphins and Patriots are going to battling all season as both teams are vying for one of three wildcard spots, since the Bills are most likely going to win the AFC East and claim the divisional spot.

This aspect makes this first game even more important. Some other things to look out for is the quarterback position for the Patriots as will it be Cam Newton or Mac Jones be the starter? Will Dolphins QB Tua Tugavoiloa overcome his rookie struggles and prove he was worthy of a top 5 pick? Will Dolphins head coach Brian Flores best his mentor Patriots head coach Bill Belichick? Most importantly, who’s going to win the game? Find out in this article.

TV Schedule

Date: September 12, 2022
Time: 4:25pm ET
Location: Gillette Stadium – Foxboro, MA
Coverage: CBS

Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots Live Stream

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Injuries

Miami Dolphins

WR Allen Hurns (Wrist)
LB Kylan Johnson (COVID-19)
CB Jaitlyn Askew (Undisclosed)
WR Will Fuller V (Suspension)

New England Patriots

QB Cam Newton (COVID-19)
WR N’Keal Harry (Ribs)
LB Raekwon McMillan (ACL)
QB Jarrett Stidham (Undisclosed)
CB Stefon Gilmore (Quadriceps)
TE Dalton Keene (Undisclosed)
DT Byran Cowart (Undisclosed)

Miami Dolphins Analysis

This is a put-up or shut-up year for QB Tua Tugavoiloa. It might be unfair for the young quarterback to be in such a situation, but that’s just the hand Tua was dealt. This is because head coach Brian Flores and the fantastic Miami front office are ahead of schedule in their long-term rebuild. The Dolphins have hit big on their recent draft picks and now are in a position where they can seriously contend in the playoffs. Now, they are still a couple of pieces away from being an AFC powerhouse like the Chiefs, Bills, or Titans, but they are a lot closer to them at this time than many people would have expected.

This is the year of Tua for the Dolphins as he has everything he needs around him to succeed. The O-line might not be a top 10 unit in the NFL, but they are still good enough to get the job done and give Tua time to throw. In the backfield, Myles Gaskin is an excellent young running back who excels at the things you need out of your running back. He can run the ball downhill with power, he is elusive on he reaches the second level, he has great hands out of the backfield, and he can block in pass pro. Behind him is Malcolm Brown, who is only used in relief if Gaskin needs a break.

And moving onto the Miami perimeter where they might have a top 5 unit at wide receiver. The guy Miami is most excited about is rookie Jaylen Waddle. Waddle was selected with the 6th overall pick in this year’s draft because of his electrifying speed that makes everything on offense so much easier. The Dolphins also have other options as guys like Davante Parker and Will Fuller V are no slouches either. Both have big-play capabilities with their great speed and excellent contested-catch percentages.

The defense for the Dolphins is a different beast entirely. This defense created the most turnovers in the NFL last season at 29. This means that Miami forced 1.8 turnovers per game which is unheard of. This is only possible because of the great players they have kept. Their secondary might be the strongest unit on their team as star CB Xavien Howard, CB Byron Jones, S Eric Rowe, and newly signed Jason McCourty were all ballhawks last season causing turnovers through their high interception totals. In the front seven, they have some demons as LB Andrew Van Ginkel, LB Benardrick McKinney, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, NT Raekwon Davis, and DE Christian Wilkins can all put pressure on the quarterback with their incredible speed and power.

If the Dolphins want to win this game, they will need to pass the ball efficiently down the field as the Patriots can’t cover everyone between Waddle, Parker, and Smith. They will also need to force at least one turnover as I predict this will be a low-scoring affair and that extra possession could be the difference between a win and a loss.

Miami Dolphins Depth Chart

QB: Tua Tugavoiloa
RB1: Myles Gaskin
RB2: Malcolm Brown
WR1: Davante Parker
WR2: Jaylen Waddle
WR3: Preston Williams
TE1: Mike Gesicki
TE2: Adam Shaheen

New England Patriots Analysis

And with the snap of a finger, the evil empire is back. The only thing that could have caused the Patriots to have their first losing season in 20 years was a multitude of injuries as well as opt-outs due to the COVID-19 virus to key players. The Patriots only went 7-9, which some teams would die for, but these teams aren’t Bill Belichick and the Patriots. The Patriots have a super high standard and they should reach it this season. New England spent a ton of money in free agency this offseason to get the top players at positions the Patriots needed.

DE Matthew Judon should be a huge boost for this defense as he is one of the most versatile players in the NFL. Judon can rush the passer just as efficiently as he can stop the run just as efficiently as he can drop back in coverage. He joins the leader of the defense LB Dont’a Hightower, who is returning from opting-out due to COVID-19, as well as other awesome defensive players like CB J.C. Jackson, new free agent CB Jalen Mills, S Devin McCourty, DE Deatrich Wise Jr., DE Chase Winovich, familiar face LB Kyle Van Noy, LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, and former DPOY winner CB Stefon Gilmore. There are ballers on every level of this defense and this defense will be the main factor to a Patriot’s playoff push.

On offense, the skills positions are brand new. The Patriots had one of the worst wide receiving and tight end groups in the NFL last season and their offensive numbers showed that. This year is different as Belichick ponied up the money and paid for quality starters like WR Nelson Agholor, TE Jonnu Smith, TE Hunter Henry, and WR Kendrick Bourne. This now puts guys like WR N’Keal Harry, WR Gunner Olszewski, and WR Jakobi Meyers are on the hot seat. Their running back core is solid as they might not have the most recognizable names in the backfield, but Damien Harris and James White should be very productive behind a great offensive line.

This New England offensive line is a top 5 unit in the NFL because of their agility, cohesion, and power. C Mark Andrews is the captain with other great players like Isiah Wynn, Mike Owenu, Shaq Mason, and free agent Trent Brown following the orders to a tee. New England is going to play bully ball all season and this O-line is going to push people around all season long.

The key to New England’s success is their offensive line and defense. Both are top 10 units in the NFL so choosing a quarterback who won’t turn the ball over will be critical to this team’s playoff chances. Whether that be Cam Newton or Mac Jones, Belichick will choose the right man for the job in a crowded AFC playoff picture.

New England Patriots Depth Chart

QB: Cam Newton
RB1: Damien Harris
RB2: James White
WR1: Nelson Agholor
WR2: Jakobi Meyers
WR3: Kendrick Bourne
TE1: Jonnu Smith
TE2: Hunter Henry

Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots Betting Corner

This is an interesting line that Vegas has set because these teams are as even as they get. No one team has a major advantage over the other and both teams match up nicely with each other. New England has a great secondary unit in Stefon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, and Jalen Mills that could stop the dangerous Miami receiving corp of Jaylen Waddle, Davante Parker, and Preston Williams. Staying on the outside, the Miami secondary might have the slight advantage as Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, and Jason McCourty should be able to lock down Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor, and Kendrick Bourne. The two lines are also evenly matched as while New England has a top 10 O-line, Miami allowed the 15th fewest rushing yards in the league last season. On the flip side, the Miami O-line is not as good as the Patriots’ front seven, who should be able to stuff the run and put pressure on Tua.

Looking at last year’s betting splits, New England finished 7-9 against the spread and 5-11 on the over with an average game score of 45. Miami was 11-5 against the spread and 7-9 on the over last season. While both of these teams are more explosive and experienced on offense, I follow the rule that offenses are rusty in Week 1 while the defense is well-rested. I also subscribe to the idea that fans will be rowdy after taking a year off from going to games due to Covid. With both teams familiar with each other and as evenly matched as they are, I have to give the nod to the Patriots and the under.

Prediction:
Patriots -2.5 & under 45 pts

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Currently a junior at Trinity College looking to complete a mathematics major. Grew up in New Jersey but is in love with the New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, and Boston Red Sox. Chris is also a Tom Brady and Gardner Minshew super fan, plays club basketball at Trinity, and enjoys watching the NFL, NBA, CFB, and CBB.

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