New England Patriots: 3 bold predictions for Week 1 matchup

Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
Matt Judon #9 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots Bold Prediction No. 2: Tua Tagovailoa will get sacked five times

After being tied for 26th in the league last season in sacks, the Patriots knew they needed to improve their pass rush over the offseason. And while they haven’t played a snap of real football yet, it’s a safe bet to assume the Patriots will pick up more than the 24 sacks they did last season.

In the three preseason games, New England picked up 10 sacks, which offered a sneak peak at what the pass rush will be like this season. Against a Miami offensive line that isn’t at full health, the Patriots pass rush will feast, and they will sack Tua Tagovailoa at least five times on Sunday.

It was initially looking like Austin Jackson, the Dolphins left tackle, was going to miss this contest, but he was activated off the COVID list earlier today. Jackson still may end up not suiting up for this one, but even if he does, Miami’s offensive line may be in for a rough outing against New England’s front seven.

This has set the stage for Matt Judon and Kyle Van Noy to feast in this one. Matchups will switch throughout the game, but it looks like Judon is going to start on the right side, meaning he will be going against the left side of the line. It wouldn’t be surprising if Judon comes away with a couple of sacks in this one considering how good he looked in limited action during the preseason.

Judon and Van Noy are set to be New England’s most effective pass rushers on paper, but it doesn’t end there. Josh Uche looked fantastic throughout training camp and the preseason, and guys like Chase Winovich, Deatrich Wise, and Henry Anderson will be looking to get to the quarterback as well.

Winovich led the team in sacks last season, and he probably won’t be starting most games this season if everyone stays healthy. That goes to show how far this unit has come from last season. Don’t be surprised if they have a dominant first outing against a relatively weak Dolphins o-line.