The Miami Dolphins are going to face a banged-up Patriots running back group on Sunday.
When the Miami Dolphins open their season against the Patriots this week, the New England offense is going to look a lot different.
Forget about the seven Patriot offensive players that opted out of the 2020 season, this Patriots team was going to look different with them active. Tom Brady is obviously the biggest loss that the Patriots have had in almost two decades. Until a month ago, Jason Stidham was to be the starter, now it is Cam Newton.
It is not just the QB spot that has changed though and the Patriots will be relying heavily on defense this year but their ground and pound rushing attack is also going to struggle, or should early in the season.
The Patriots lost Damien Harris who was put on IR with a hand injury. James White will now see the bulk of the carries but White is more successful as a pass receiver. He could benefit from Newton though who has been throwing to Christian McCaffery the last couple of years.
White should see more opportunities in the passing game but he isn’t a reliable three-down running back on the ground because Sony Michel is expected to handle those duties.
More from Phin Phanatic
- Tua Tagovailoa practicing with teammates is everything a leader does
- 4 offensive tackles Miami Dolphins could draft at 51
- Miami Dolphins don’t need CB help but these 5 could be available at 51
- 4 players that could replace Wilkins if Miami Dolphins don’t re-sign him
- Miami Dolphins have a starting point with Wilkins after Simmons deal
Michel has not reached 1,000 yards on the season yet but in both of his NFL seasons, he has eclipsed 900 yards both times. He has also carried the ball over 200 times in each season. He is the Patriot’s bell-cow runner but without the benefit of a strong passing game, his production could fall as the team’s focus more on stopping the Patriots running game.
When it comes to passing the ball, Newton has a huge arm and can run the ball better than anything the Patriots have had at QB in history. The problem is that Newton is inconsistent with his passes and takes risks he shouldn’t. He will often pull the ball down too soon to run it.
The Patriots lack quality receivers. N’Keal Harry and Julien Edelman are the top receivers and after them, it drops considerably. Matthew Slater has 13 seasons of experience but isn’t considered anywhere near elite. After Slater, the most experience falls to Damiere Byrd who enters his 5th season.
This is a transition year for the Patriots but they have talent that can move the ball but Miami’s defense could match up well against them with better cornerbacks covering lesser receivers, safeties that can shadow Newton, Jerome Baker who can cover and support stopping the run, and then the additional outside edge rushers with Elandon Roberts and Kyle Van Noy who are disciplined to hold the edge and contain.
All in all, Miami matches up well on paper but they will need to show it on the field come Sunday.