The Miami Dolphins will play the New England Patriots in week two of the NFL season. The Patriots are looking more and more likely not to have Tom Brady as their quarterback.
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Earlier today the Second Circuit dismissed and appeal by Brady and the NFLPA to have a rehearing on his suspension. In early May the same court reinstated Brady’s suspension from 2015. Now, barring a successful appeal to the Supreme Court, Brady will sit out the first four weeks of the NFL season.
With Brady slated to miss four games, Jimmy Garoppolo will be in line to start for the Patriots.
Along with the Dolphins, New England will not have Brady for the Texans, Bills, and Cardinals. The Cardinals are their opening opponent. It’s likely the Patriots could lose to the Cardinals and the Bills and even the Texans who have a strong defense.
The question Miami fans will have is whether or not the Dolphins can beat the Bradyless Patriots? It’s not an easy answer. The Dolphins should have an improved defense that could rattle the young Garoppolo. With question marks at cornerback and to some degree linebacker, Brady may have had more time to pick apart the problems the Dolphins have. Garoppolo, maybe not so much.
Offensively for the Dolphins, nothing changes. Ryan Tannehill will still need to execute against an improving New England defense. And of course Bill Belichick’s game planning that seems to doom Miami when it matters.
The Dolphins should be able to play a tough road game but saying that the Patriots are now doomed to lose is a little much. The last time the Patriots were without Brady for any lengthy time period was in 2008 when Brady missed the season with a knee injury. The Patriots still finished 10-6 losing the tie breaker for the division to the Dolphins.
What will be more interesting is how the Dolphins will fair in the final week of the season when Brady will be back under center. If the Patriots lose two, three, or even all four games to open the season, any one of the other three AFC East teams could be in position to win the division and that could come down to the final couple of games of the season when Brady will be in command.
The Dolphins need to not worry about whether Tom Brady will be the quarterback but instead just take care of their own business regardless who the quarterback is. Brady or no Brady? It’s for fans to discuss. Easier? Probably. A given win? Not even close.