After playing a tough game against the Eagles that almost resulted in a comeback win, the New England Patriots shift gears and look ahead to week two where they will host the division-rival Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins boast a high-powered offense with a quarterback off to the best start to a season of his career, against Mac Jones who is looking to recapture his rookie form and lead New England to the playoffs.
The Patriots once again find themselves with multiple starts on the offensive line on the injury report. Mike Owenu and Cole Strange return with ankle and knee injuries respectively. Joining them are center David Andrews as he battles a hamstring injury. The three interior starters have been limited participants all week, and starting left tackle Trent Brown has not practiced all week with a concussion. We saw the nightmare that was New England going against Philadelphia while they were down two starters, now they’ll potentially be down four. Backup guard Sidy Sow has also missed both days of practice so far as he deals with a concussion. Going up against another formidable front in the Dolphins with Christian Wilkins, Zach Sieler, Bradley Chubb, and Jaelan Phillips will be a tall task with the backups.
The Dolphins do not have the same level of health concerns, with the most notable player on the injury report being Terron Armstead as he is listed with back, ankle, and knee injuries. Connor Williams and Jaylen Waddle are both listed with knee and oblique injuries respectively, but both were full participants in practice on Thursday so they are likely to play.
In a very similar way to last week, the first major matchup is New England’s injured offensive line against Miami’s defensive line. With potentially four starters out, New England has a tough task against a Miami Defense that posted 18 pressures against the Chargers. We saw Mac Jones settle in and make great plays against the Eagles, but you can’t rely on that to continue while under pressure.
New England’s corners have to try and stop Miami’s receivers, a group that is as good if not better than Philadelphia’s. Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill lit up the Chargers, who have a better secondary and better front. I expect a repeat performance, and maybe even a better one. Miami’s offensive line was able to make Josy Bosa a non-factor, that’s beyond impressive and New England doesn’t have a single player that is near Bosa’s caliber. Bill Belichick still has his defensive fastball, and did a good job scheming up pressure against the Eagles. However, even with adjusting for Belichick inflation, Miami is going to put up a lot of points very quickly.
Prediction: 34-21 Miami
I was pretty close in score last week and I’m picking the Patriots to unfortunately lose again. Even with the dynamic of two Alabama quarterbacks facing off against each other, the difference in supporting groups is too large a gap. As much as Belichick is a force multiplier for the defense, Mike McDaniel does the same for Miami’s offense and Tua looked incredible last week and last season before the concussion injuries. Miami did a good job protecting him against the Chargers, and his pocket movement has looked very good as well. Unfortunately, Mac Jones’ improvements will be overshadowed by the other team finding a way to do more.
2023 Prediction Record: 1-0