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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain
Few people are picking against the Patriots in their season opener on Monday night against the Dolphins. Why should they?
The Patriots have been a popular pick to win Super Bowl XLVI after offseason moves improved a team that had an AFC-best 14-2 mark last season. They pummeled the Dolphins 41-14 last season in Sun Life Stadium a place where the Dolphins were 1-7. Miami had a tumultuous offseason and returns a head coach and quarterback that few 'Fins fans are excited about.
It won't be as easy on the field as it looks on paper for New England. The Pats will be starting a rookie at right tackle in Nate Solder. While Solder looked very good in the preseason, he will have to slow down OLBs Cameron Wake and Jason Taylor in his NFL debut. The Dolphins have a very good defense, with a playmaker at linebacker in Karlos Dansby and two rising cornerbacks in Vontae Davis and Sean Smith. Plus, QB Chad Henne moved the ball well to open last year's meeting in Miami before the wheels came off. And the Patriots probably won't score 21 defensive and special-teams points like they did in last year's Week Four win.
The Dolphins' only hope to win is if they a) put tons of pressure on Tom Brady and slow down the Pats' passing attack and b) orchestrate an offensive show that was not seen last season. It's possible, and the 'Fins should keep it close, but the Patriots should ultimately leave Miami with a win. The offense isn't expected to lose a step and the defense should be much better than last season. The Pats appeared to be a team on a mission this preseason, and that mission begins Monday night.
Prediction: Patriots 31, Dolphins 20