New England Patriots: 3 things to watch for in Week 1 action vs Miami

J.J. Taylor #42 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
J.J. Taylor #42 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
Jalen Mills #2 and Kyle Dugger #23 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots thing to watch No. 2: Can Pats defense contain Miami’s offense?

While many people will be curious how Jones does in his first start, the main battle will be on the other side of the ball in this one. The Patriots are rolling into the season with a new look defense, while the Dolphins worked on adding some weapons to their offense to help out Tagovailoa. It will be interesting to see which unit prevails in what should be a very entertaining matchup.

The Dolphins have a very under the radar offense that could prove challenging to defend for New England. Tagovailoa will be throwing most of his passes in this one to DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, and the sixth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Jaylen Waddle. Myles Gaskin will get most of the reps at running back, while also serving as a weapon in the passing game for Tagovailoa as well.

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Parker has been known to give the Patriots fits in the past, as his height (6’3) has often caused problems. J.C. Jackson will probably be tasked with sticking with him for most of the game, as he’s one of the few guys who Parker can’t beat purely off his height. Waddle is a smaller, quicker receiver, and could see a lot of Jonathan Jones is he ends up being healthy for this one.

Another issue comes in the 6’6 frame of Gesicki. He has created problems for New England is the past as well, and they don’t really have anyone who can match his frame. Kyle Dugger will probably get the first crack at him, but don’t be surprised if third year corner Joejuan Williams is tasked with locking up Gesicki at times throughout this game.

The run defense will have an immediate challenge with Gaskin after they struggled for most of last season. Lawrence Guy and Davon Godchaux will be the first line of defense here, and it should be a battle in the trenches to establish dominance here.

One area where New England should have a clear advantage is their pass rush. The Dolphins will be without their starting left tackle Austin Jackson in this one, and you can bet head coach Bill Belichick will attack his replacement all day long. Don’t be surprised if Matthew Judon ends up with a multi-sack game in his first action with New England.

A lot of this depends on the play of Tagovailoa. He was wildly inconsistent last season, but New England’s defense has the power to make his day miserable. If they can do that, it will take a lot of pressure off the offense, which could be the difference between winning and losing.