Close menu
Free Pick: Miami at New England 9/12/21
Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Free Pick: Miami at New England 9/12/21

This is an important divisional game between the Dolphins and the Patriots. Miami came close to the playoffs a year ago and feel like they are on the verge of a break-out year while New England slumped to their first losing season since 2000 and their first non-playoff year since 2008. The Patriots spent a ton of money in the offseason to try and fix some of the problems and get back to contending in 2021. Let’s see how they break down.

Quarterback: New England surprised a lot of people by bringing back Cam Newton for a 2nd year in the offseason and then releasing him after the last preseason exhibition game. That leaves the starting job in the hands of Alabama rookie Mac Jones who we have no doubt will be a good player when all is said and done. But, this is start No.1 for him and it is difficult to judge him yet. The Dolphins let Ryan Fitzgerald go in free agency and have entrusted the quarterback job to Tua Tagovailoa. He was okay in 2020, sharing duties with Fitzpatrick, but now the pressure is all on him. Advantage: Miami

Running Backs: Miami hasn’t done much to improve this position from a year ago and they had the least efficient running game in the NFL. They return, Myles Gaskin, their leading rusher from a year ago with 584 yards. The Patriots will counter with Damien Harris who rushed for 691 yards and rookie Rhamondre Stevenson who had a great preseason. Advantage: New England

Receivers: New England completely overhauled their receiver group through free agency in the offseason. Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry were the two top tight end free agents and combined for 101 catches for 1061 yards. They also brought in Nelson Agholor who caught 48 balls for 846 yards. The Dolphins are in good shape at receiver with DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, and rookie Jaylen Waddle. Advantage: Miami

Offensive Line: Miami had an “average” offensive line last season and lost their two top blockers. They are left with a young unit that has a lot of upside. The Patriots have solid leadership beginning with center, David Andrews leading the way. Advantage: New England

Defensive Line: Another transformation happened upfront for New England in an effort to improve a poor run defense. Davon Godchaux and Henry Anderson were added and Lawrence Guy and Deatrich Wise were re-signed. Miami will counter with Christian Wilkins and Emmanuel Ogbah. Advantage: Neither

Linebackers: The linebacking group for the Dolphins is led by Jerome Baker who had 111 tackles in 2020. New England will get Dont’a Hightower back, who opted out last season back and his presence will automatically make them better. They also picked up Kyle Von Hoy from the Dolphins, and signed former Ravens’ star Matt Judon. Advantage: New England

Secondary: New England has a solid group on the back end of the defense led by Adrian Phillips, J.C. Jackson, and Devin McCourty. The Dolphins might be even better. Cornerback, Xavien Howard had 10 interceptions and made the Pro Bowl. He will be joined by his bookend corner, Byron Jones. Strong safety, Eric Rowe, had 91 tackles in 2020 and is durable. Advantage: Miami

Coaching: Miami coach Brian Flores is entering his third season in South Florida and has done a quality job with the Dolphins. But, Bill Belichick is the standard in the NFL and has earned the respect he gets. Advantage: New England

This will be an early gauge as to here each team is. Belichick made a ton of changes to improve the Patriot roster and it will be interesting to see how the new guys fit it. Adding to the intrigue, is the quarterback situation with Mac Jones. The Dolphins are a solid team but seems to lack the necessary firepower to get to the next level.

Papa Dude’s Pick: New England -3

Aaron’s Pick: Miami +3

Join the Inner Circle

Sign up for exclusive 10% discount on orders, plus be the first to access our daily free and premium horse racing picks, articles, podcasts, and more!

Sign Up