Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#269 New England Patriots vs.
#270 Miami Dolphins
Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 1:00pm EDT
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami
Written by David Hess

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#269 New England
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National Football action on Sunday afternoon and a pair of teams from the AFC East will square off as the New England Patriots invade Hard Rock Stadium in Miami/ Florida to rumble with the Miami Dolphins. These teams split the two meetings last year.

The Patriots are the defending Super Bowl champs and on Sunday night they picked up right where they left off. The Pats were expected to be in a tough game on Sunday night as they were taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers, but alas it was not a close game at all as the Pats turned the Steel Curtain into a shower curtain with a 33-3 win. The offense and defense were on point for the Patriots and they will be looking for another easy win against a Miami team that did not have a good opening game.

The Dolphins just may be the worst team in the league and the players are on the verge of revolting. Miami lost their opening game at home to the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 59-10. That is not a typo. After the game, there were reports of players taking to their agents, trying to get traded. The players have indicated that the coaching staff isn’t even trying to win in hopes of grabbing the top pick in next year’s draft. Can Miami find anything positive to take from this game? We shall see.    

A Quick Review of the Season to Date

New England Patriots Review

The New England Patriots are the defending champs and they showed that they are not ready to step down from their thrown in game one this year after dismantling the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 33-3. The Pats had a 20-0 lead at the break and were never challenged in the game. The Pats rolled up 465 yards of total offense, including 366 yards through the air as the Steelers had no answer for the passing game. Just think about how scary this passing game could be if Antonio Brown ever hits the field for them.

Brady was 24-36 for 341 yards with three TDs and no INTs in the game. He is in his forties, right? The dude just refuses to decline. TYe defense also looked strong in the contest as they held the Steelers to just 308 yards of total offense, including just 32 yards rushing. The Pats were clicking on both sides of the ball and now get to face a Miami team that didn’t get the memo that the season has started.

Miami Dolphins Review

Not a whole lot to say here. The Dolphins were thoroughly embarrassed in their opener as they fell to the Baltimore Ravens at home by a score of 59-10. Miami was seven-point dogs in the contest and many expected the Ravens to cover, but no one expected a 49 point loss. The Fish were down 42-0 at the half and were outgained 643-200 in the contest overall. Yikes. After the game, a few of the Miami players were contacting their agents in hopes of getting traded, stating that the Miami coaching staff has no interest in winning at all this year.

It is a complete mess down in Miami and now they have to face the defending champs?  Good luck there. Ryan Fitzpatrick was just 14/29 for 175 yards with a TD and an INT in the contest. There will be no Fitz-magic this year like he showed last year in Tampa Bay because he doesn’t have the talent in Miami. The running game was far worse as it had just 21 yards rushing with Kenyan Drake leading the way with 12 yards. Miami and their fans are in for a long year.

New England Patriots Offense vs. Miami Dolphins Defense

Running the Ball: Who Has the Edge?

New England Patriots Rushing Offense

The Patriots are not a great rushing team and why would they need to be with Tom Brady slinging the ball all over the field. Still, they can run the ball and had 99 yards in their win over the Steelers. Rex Burkhead led the way with 44 yards on just eight carries, while James White chipped in with 26 yards on just four carries. Sony Michel is the starter of this group and he did have a rough outing, as he ran for just 14 yards on 15 carries.

I would look for the Patriots to try and get him going in this one, especially early on. In fact, you may see the Pats trying to get their running game going as a whole as they know that it will not take much to beat the Fish. Running the ball could shorten the game some and that means a better chance of the Pats coming out of this one healthy.

Miami Dolphins Rushing Defense

The Fish were ground into chum in their loss to the Ravens as Baltimore hung up 265 yards on the ground in the contest. The Miami front wall just had no answer for the Baltimore run game. They had no answer for their passing game either but we will get to that in a moment.

Eric Rowe led the team in tackles with nine, while Reshad Jone had four. No one else had more than three. If the Dolphins can’t stop the run then this will be a very long season for this defense as teams will look to run on them a lot, which will set up for big plays down the field through the air. They will be taking on a mediocre rushing game in this one, so maybe we will see some improvements.

Who Has the Edge?

This one is easy. The Dolphins can’t stop the run at all. The Patriots may not have a strong ground attack as the Ravens do, but New England does have some backs that will get the job done. Sony Michel had a rough game one, but he has to be licking his chops at facing this pathetic run defense. The Pats will use their ground attack to set up the pass early in the game and then when they have a big lead, they will look to use it to run out the clock the rest of the way. The Pats have the edge in this one.

Advantage: New England Patriots

Aerial Assault: Who Has the Upper Hand?

New England Patriots Passing Offense

The Patriots have had one of the best passing attacks in the league for the gazillion years with Brady running the show and even at age 42, it doesn’t look as if he has skipped a beat. Brady had a strong outing in the win over the Steelers as he threw for 341 yards with three TDs and no INTs, plus he was sacked just once for seven yards. It is scary to think about what he will do against a high-school defense in this one, especially if the ground game gets going.

Phillip Dorsett II led the way against the Steelers with 95 yards receiving and two TDs on just four receptions. Julian Edelman had 83 yards on six catches, while Josh Gordon had 73 yards and a TD on three catches. This is a deep and talented receiving corps and it could get better if Antonio Brown plays for the Pats. Right now, his status is up in the air after allegations of sexual abuse have surfaced. Personally, they will not need him to win this game.

Update (9/14/19): It’s looking as though Brown might play in this game. The NFL will not place him on their exempt list according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. That means he’s eligible to play on Sunday.

Bill Belichick was asked Friday if Brown would play and mentioned,  “We’ll do what’s best for the team.” But later hinted the old refrain about a new player trying to learn a new system.

“Long way to go, obviously. Not familiar with our offense,” Belichick said of Brown. “The systems he’s been in have been quite different. He’s working hard to pick it up and we’re working hard to get it to him.”

 

Miami Dolphins Passing Defense

The Dolphins could stop the run against the Ravens and their pass defense was no better. The running game for Baltimore set up some big plays downfield and the Ravens took advantage of what could be the worst secondary in the league. Many around the league have called Lamar Jackson a running back playing a QBs position, but he showed the Fish that was not true.

Jackson hit 17 of 20 passes for 324 yards with five TDs and no INTs. The Dolphins did have one sack in the game, but for just one yard. Sam Eguavoen and Jonathan Ledbetter shared that sack. It will not get better for Miami as they are facing Tom Brady and his bevy of WR weapons.

Who Has the Edge?

As they say on Monday Night Countdown, “C’Mon Man”. This is a no brainer. If the dolphins couldn’t stop Lamar Jackson and his bad average receivers, then how will they stop Tom Brady and his bevy of elite receivers. It may even get worse for the Dolphins if Antonio Brown is on the field in this one. I do not feel the Pats will need him and even if he doesn’t play, New England still has a massive edge in this category. Miami can’t stop the pass and Brady just threw for well over 300 yards against the Steelers. This category is not even close.

Advantage: New England Patriots

Miami Dolphins Offense vs. New England Patriots Defense

Who Has the Edge in the Ground Game?

Miami Dolphins Rushing Offense

The Dolphins have Kenyan Drake, who ran for 535 yards last year and 644 yards the year before, but he didn’t have a good outing in the opener as he had just 12 yards in the opening loss against the Ravens. Even worse for Miami as he led them in rushing in the game. the Fish had just 21 yards in the contest. I Miami can’t get their ground game going, then life will be very difficult for Ryan Fitzpatrick this year.

Speaking of Fitzpatrick, he was second on the team with eight yards, while Kalen Ballage ran for minus-one yard on five carries. Not good at all and they will be facing a New England team that completely shut down the Pittsburgh ground attack. This could get ugly.

New England Patriots Rushing Defense

The Pats were 7th in the league against the rush last year and they picked up right where they left off. The Steelers are known for having a solid ground attack, but the Pats shut them down, allowing just 32 yards rushing in the contest. Now they will take aim at a Miami offense that had just 21 yards rushing in their opener.

Miami had 189 yards rushing in the 2nd meeting between these teams last year, but that was late in the year and when the Pats had very little to play for. Still, you can bet that the Pats have not forgotten about that and will look for a better showing this time around. They may not face a tom of the Miami ground game, especially if the Pats get up big early. No matter what, this is another area where the Pats have a massive edge in.

Who Has the Edge?

The Dolphins could not run the ball in their opener against the Ravens and while the Baltimore defense is better than New England’s the Pats still were one of the best in the league at stopping the run last year. The Pats held Pittsburgh’s solid ground attack to just 32 yards and Kenyan Drake led the team in rushing in game one with just 12 yards. The Miami offensive line will not be able to hold up against a solid Pats front line and I can see the Fish being held to under 75 yards in this one.

Advantage: New England Patriots

Who Has the Upper Hand in the Passing Attack?

Miami Dolphins Passing Offense

Ryan Fitzpatrick was brought in to take over as the starting QB after Ryan Tannehill left for Tennessee, but he is just a place holder until Miami uses the top pick in next year’s draft to take a QB. Yes, I am calling for Miami to have the worst record in the league. Fitzpatrick had a strong showing last year for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he also had a much better group of receivers than he does here in Miami.

Fitz did not have the magic against the Ravens as he threw for just 185 yards on 14/29 passing with a TD and an INT.His passer rating after game one was 66.0. DeVante Parker led the team with three catches for 75 yards while Mike Gesicki was 2nd with tw0o catches for 31 yards. Mike who? that’s right, this is a team that is devoid of top-flight pass catchers and that is a big disadvantage when facing a Pats team that has the ability to put up points at will.

New England Patriots Passing Defense

The Pats do not have the greatest pass defense and a lot of times the reason that they give up a ton of yards is that teams have to play catchup against them. That happened last week as the Pats had a big lead for most of the game, forcing Pittsburgh to abandon the run. The Steelers ended up throwing for 276 yards, but that had no impact on the game at all as New England still won 33-3.

The Dolphins will also have to abandon the run early as New England figures tro jump out to a big lead. The difference here is that Miami does not have Ben Roethlisberger at QB or his bevy of top-notch receivers. New England was not happing about allowing 276 yards to the Steelers last week and will look to cleaned that up against the high-school passing game of the Fish,

Who Has the Edge?

This is another no brainer. The Pats did allow 276 yards passing to the Steelers last week, but Miami does not have the receivers that Pittsburgh does and they do not possess a QB like Big Ben. Ryan Fitzpatrick is just holding down a place until Miami can find a real NFL QB. they did bring in Josh Rosen as well, but he was a flop in Arizona and they had Larry Fitzgerald. Miami will have to throw a lot in this game as they figure to be down big early and that means that they will get some yards in this one, but still, this is just another area that the Pats have a big edge in.

Advantage: New England Patriots

Special Teams, Coaching, & Intangibles

Special Teams

Advantage: New England Patriots

Coaching

Advantage: New England Patriots

Intangibles

New England Patriots

Intangibles? This is not even close either. New England normally plays well on the road and they have a huge edge in coaching as well. New England scored 33 points in their opener and the Dolphins put up 10 points. The Pats are 21st in net punting, but we may not see much of that in this one. The Pats did have seven penalties in their opener, but it didn’t cost them at all and why should it when you have Tom Brady being able to make up the lost yards with his arm? The Pats are also 9th in yards per play at 6.9 and 11th in third-down conversions at 50%. New England will not beat themselves all that often and that is a big reason why they are so tough to beat.

 

Miami Dolphins

Miami is tanking this year in hopes of being able to grab a top-notch QB in next year’s draft and this is a team that could very well go 0-16. The coaching staff isn’t trying and the players are on the verge of revolting. That will make it a tough season for Miami fans to take this year. Miami is 25th in 3rd doen conversions at 30% and they committed nine penalties in their loss to the Ravens. That would not be good here as you don’t need to give the New England offense or defense free yards. Miami is 2nd in the league in net punt yards per attempt at 48.8 and that could be significant as we figure to see a lot of Miami punts. That may be the only area that Miami holds an edge in this game.

Who Has the Edge?

Despite Miami holding the edge in punting, all the other intangibles have to go to the Patriots. Miami will beat themselves with penalties and they are not a good team in 3rd down. The Pats also have a massive edge in coaching and New England is actually trying to win games, while Miami is tanking in hopes of getting the number one pick in next year’s draft. The Pats could be a bit flat after their big win over the Steelers, but even with that, New England holds all the edges in this category.

Advantage: New England Patriots

Final Outlook – Time to place those bets!

They say to never overreact to what happened the previous week. I like the Patriots in this one and I am not overreacting to a thing. New England is the far better team that could very well end up back in the postseason, while Miami is clearly the worst team in the league and would have issues beating Alabama or even Clemson at this point. The Patriots have one of the best passing attacks in the league and Miami was not able to stop Lamar Jackson last week as he threw for 324 yards and five TDs against them.

New England’s rushing game sputtered a bit last week, but it will get going against a Miami defense that allowed Baltimore to rumble for 268 yards a week ago. Once that ground game gets going, Tom Brady will then have a field day against one of the worst secondaries in the league. The Patriots outclass the Dolphins in every phase of the game from their offense to the defense to the coaching to the beer vendors.

It is not even close and what makes matters worse for the dolphins in this one is the fact that Brady has no problem what so ever in running up the score on a division rival. This will not be a fun game for the Dolphins and as I said at the start, I am not overreacting to last week’s results. They are that bad and the Patriots are that good.

Some Trends Of Note

  • The Patriots are 24-5-1 ATS in their last 30 games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game
  • The Patriots are 23-9-1 ATS in their last 33 games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game.
  • The Patriots are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games following a straight-up win of more than 14 points
  • The Dolphins are 18-38 ATS in their last 56 games after allowing more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
  • The Dolphins are 12-26-1 ATS in their last 39 games following an ATS loss.
  • The Dolphins are 7-21-1 ATS in their last 29 games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game

Look for the Patriots to win this one easily as Miami does not have the offense, defense or even the will to keep pace in this one.

 

Updated on Sep 15 at 8:45am EDT

Antonio Brown is stealing the headlines these days. He may be the best WR in the league, but some are calling him the worst thing to happen in the NFL this year. He had all sorts of problems in Oakland and didn’t even take the field for them in the regular season and now sexual assault accusations have been levied against him. The Pats and the NFL are taking a wait and see approach to  Boron before handing any punishments down. That means he could play in this game and he has already made the trip to Miami.

That is even worse for the Dolphins, who were trounced by the Ravens last week. The Patriots will not need Brown, to win this game, but they would like to use the game to get him on the field and acclimated to the offense. It will serve him better and he will be ready for the big games that they will need him in. This game is a complete mismatch on paper and we will see that on the field as well. Brady and company will not have a let down after their big win over the Steelers last week and the Fish will not be able to get their act together after a crushing defeat to the Ravens last week. They are that bad and they are the worst team in the league. The Patriots will grind the Fish into chum in this one.

New England Patriots 49, Miami Dolphins 14

Written By David Hess

David has always had a fascination with numbers and sports, so he combined the two to become a handicapper and a writer for us here at Winners & Whiners, along with StatSalt. All the information that David puts in his articles are well-researched and his predictions are well-thought out. He is a big fan of all the major pro sports and the colleges making David a very versatile and a constantly winning handicapper. David has been writing for the past 10 years and has been handicapping for over 20 years. He will help you beat the Man, so be sure and follow along.