If the Miami Dolphins win on Sunday it will be more telling about the state of the Patriots than the Dolphins.
The Miami Dolphins will open the season and very few people expect them to challenge for the AFC East but a win could change that.
It has been an odd and unprecedented off-season for the Dolphins, Patriots, and every other team in the NFL. Nothing has been normal since training camps opened and no off-season work left teams wondering what was going to show up.
Now, it’s time we see it all on the field for the first time. No pre-season games, no open practices, and even limited information has been allowed by local beat writers. Everything has been different but now, no one can hide what these NFL teams are or will be in 2020.
For everything we don’t know yet about the Dolphins, we know even less about the Patriots. While many believe that the Patriots will not win the division, almost all of them believe that they will compete for it. When it comes to the Dolphins, winning two more games than in 2019 will be considered a success.
Yet what if the Dolphins beat the Patriots? New England is less than a touchdown favorite and the last time Miami went to Foxboro they won. There is no Tom Brady, a banged-up running game, a lack of talent at wide receiver and on defense, departures of top talent has left them vulnerable.
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For all purposes, the Dolphins should still not win this game but if they do, we may not know if the victory is an indictment on how good the Dolphins could be this year or how bad the Patriots are. That is a question that will come through the weeks ahead.
The Patriots could be a surprisingly bad team this year given the changes that include two defensive players, Patrick Chung and Dont’a Hightower opting out. The point is that if the Dolphins pull off a win, I don’t expect to see a major jump for Miami in power rankings but I would expect to see a big drop for the Patriots.
A victory over the Patriots by the Miami Dolphins isn’t going to change a lot of minds.
Not that power rankings matter or anything. The reality is people believe that the Patriots, despite their roster turnover, is still a team that will be challenging for the post-season. Miami, they would simply be considered lucky. A team that played a good game and maybe a team that these new Patriot players took too lightly.
Either way, it doesn’t matter what kind of respect the Dolphins would earn from this game, beating the Patriots would be a sweet start to the 2020 season.