Game Preview: Patriots to Battle Dolphins in Season Opener


Week 1: New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins

Time: 1 p.m.

Location: Sun Life Stadium

TV/Radio: CBS/98.5 The Sports Hub

The New England Patriots will begin their AFC East title defense against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon at Sun Life Stadium. They’ve been a dominant football team over the years, winning 10 divisional titles over the last 11 seasons. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, an infamous duo among the NFL ranks, will look to make it 10 consecutive victories on opening day. Miami will have a chance to snap the impressive streak, but the Patriots revamped and highly-regarded defense will look to impose themselves on their inexperienced opponent. With high expectations in 2014, the Patriots can set the tone for weeks to come with a win over their division rival.

Both Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski are listed as questionable to play, but all signs point to the two being active and involved in the offensive game plan. New England’s offense outclasses Miami’s defense. Gronkowski and Brady aside, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Shane Vereen, Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins will lead the attack. Miami’s top corner tandem of Brent Grimes and Cortland Finnegan will look to thwart Brady and company’s offensive success though, with a multitude of options at the ready, it could be a long day for the ‘Phins.

One area the ‘Phins could exploit is the Patriots offensive line. It’s been a never-ending carousal ride along the offensive front this summer. Belichick has toyed with several combinations, having yet to settle on a starting five. With Logan Mankins now gone, one can only guess who gets the nod in his place. Cameron Wake, Randy Starks and Olivier Vernon can rush the passer with great tenacity. If the pocket breaks down regularly around Brady, the Patriots may be forced to alter their play calling.

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Miami signal-caller Ryan Tannehill is talented and has improved over the years, unfortunately the Patriots defense is loaded. While Mike Wallace, Charles Clay and Brian Hartline are respectable receivers, the Darrelle Revis led secondary offers a stout challenge. New England’s linebackers are active and their defensive line will be battling a depleted Miami offensive line. Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich both figure to create havoc for Tannehill, thus forcing him to make quick decisions. Let’s not forget the anchor, Vince Wilfork, is back and healthy. It’s still not known whether the Patriots will show up in a 4-3 or 3-4 front.

The temperature at kickoff is expected to be somewhere around 90. Battling the heat will be somewhat of a game within the game. Odds are such heat will take a toll on both sides. An offensive onslaught right out of the gate would be wise as the Patriots would benefit from putting the game out of reach by halftime.

My Prediction: 31-10, Patriots