After pulling off an incredible upset against the division rival Buffalo Bills, and promptly knocking me out of a survivor pool in the process, the New England Patriots have some momentum heading into their Sunday afternoon showdown against the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins are coming off a humbling experience against the Philadelphia Eagles, where their explosive offense was slowed down significantly and held to just 10 points while their defense got seven off an interception return. Can New England keep it going or will Miami right the ship?
The big storyline here is Jalen Ramsey’s return, with him being expected to make his Dolphin debut this week against New England. Ramsey, one of the top corners in the league over the past couple of seasons is going to add a presence to this Dolphins defense and be a true shutdown corner, something Miami has been lacking for quite some time now. Star receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle have been limited participants in practice, but I would expect them to play given their importance in the lineup with 17 of Tua’s 23 completions last game being to Hill and Waddle.
New England continues to battle injuries along their offensive line, with Trent Brown and Cole Strange continuing to appear on the injury report with knee injuries. The defensive tackle duo of Davon Godchaux and Christian Barmore continue to be on the injury report with an ankle and knee injury respectively, but I anticipate both to play.
The high-powered receiving duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle continues to be the driving point of the Miami offense. Behind a less-than-ideal offensive line, the Dolphins are able to play a pass-happy attack or control the game on the ground as they hold both the best passing offense and rushing offense in the league, averaging 300 passing yards per game and 162.3 rushing yards per game. They have also done a strong job of keeping Tua clean and preventing pressure from derailing their approach. New England has been lacking serious juice on their defensive front ever since the Matt Judon injury, so I don’t see pressure playing a major role this week.
With Ramsey likely returning, a struggling New England receiving group will only look worse. This was already a group that struggled to separate and make a difference, now the level of difficulty is only increasing and New England will have to rely on their backs and Gesicki even more. Mac Jones is coming off his best game since the first week of the season as he completed a game-winning drive to not only knock me out of a survivor pool but pull off a ridiculous upset against a Buffalo Bills team that has had some ups and downs all season long. Unfortunately, I don’t see Miami having the problems it did against Philadelphia because I don’t think New England can emulate that kind of defense with the injuries they are facing. On the backend for Miami, the safety duo of DeShon Elliott and Jevon Holland has been quietly very good. Holland is missing the fewest tackles of his career and only allowing 8.1 yards per reception when targeted, which is incredible for a safety.
Prediction: 31-20 Miami Dolphins
I’m not ready to declare the New England offense fixed after one solid game and a good drive against the Buffalo Bills. The same applies to Miami, I’m not going to overreact and say their offense is figured out after one poor performance against Philadelphia where Tua Tagovailoa played very well. I think both teams show their true colours this Sunday, and Miami takes the season series sweep.
2023 Prediction Record: 5-2