SNF Pick: Miami at New England Week 2

by | Last updated Sep 12, 2023 | nfl

Miami Dolphins (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. New England Patriots (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)

Date/Time: Sunday, September 17, 8:20 PM EST

Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Ma.


Point Spread: Mia -2/NE +2 (Did you know you can bet on games at -105 instead of -110?)

Moneyline: Phins -136/Pats +116 

Over/Under Total: 46½

The Patriots host the Dolphins for a week 2 AFC East Sunday Night Football contest. BOVADA.LV is making New England 2-point home dogs and setting the game total at 46.5. I am not bullish on the Pats in 2023, but I think they are the right side for the Sunday Night battle. Here are three reasons.

The Patriot Offense Is Looking Up

New England’s offense and Mac Jones are trying to rebound from a horrible 2022 campaign and had the misfortune of having to take on possibly the league’s best defense in the Philadelphia Eagles in week 1. Although the Pats comeback on their final drive fell short, the offense had a very respectable performance. Jones passed for 316 yards and three touchdowns while also throwing an interception. The Patriot offensive line was the big question mark coming into the game, but they allowed only two sacks on 56 dropbacks, though they struggled to open holes for the ground game. Rhamondre Stevenson couldn’t get going, racking up only 25 yards on 12 carries against the stout Eagle front. The Dolphin defense cannot compare to the Eagle unit, so expect the Pat offense to have more success Sunday. I think New England will come into the game with an emphasis on sticking to the run more than last week, to try to give Jones some opportunities on play-action passes, and also to keep the Dolphin offense off of the field. Six Patriot receivers had catches last week, so Jones can spread the ball around, but unfortunately for New England, none of those receivers are very dynamic, as only 2 of their 35 completions went for more than 20 yards. Look for the Patriots to play methodically and convert 3rd downs on their way to putting points on the board on most drives.
The Dolphins came away with a win against the Chargers last week, but it wasn’t because of their defense. They gave up 433 total yards, including 234 yards on the ground on 40 attempts and three rushing touchdowns – against a team that is not really good at running the ball. Miami’s new Defensive Coordinator, Vic Fangio, will eventually get the defense heading in the right direction, but it’s not likely everything will get figured out this week. The Patriots have the blueprint for how to carve the Dolphins up on the ground, and I expect they will follow it. Miami’s defense was good against the pass in Los Angeles, but it won’t matter if New England is getting 5+ yards on the ground every time they snap the ball.

Tyreek Hill Is Unbelievable

It’s rare a player other than a quarterback can almost single-handedly win a game in the NFL, but Tyreek Hill basically did it last week in Los Angeles. He amassed 215 yards on 11 catches and scored two touchdowns. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is an extremely accurate passer and can distribute the ball to Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and the other Dolphin playmakers in position to take advantage of their speed. The offense was firing on all cylinders in Week 1, at least Hill was. Miami generally wants to copy the San Francisco offensive plan of running outside zone plays and setting up bootlegs and play action, but tends to turn into get Hill or Waddle the ball in space and let them create big plays after the catch. The ground game is an afterthought, so the success of the offense rests on those two playmakers. I expect the same this week, especially after it worked so well last week.
The New England defense will be ready. The Pats stop unit has struggled in the recent past handling elite speed but had a good day Sunday. They held Eagles speedsters A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith to 14 catches for only 126 yards and a long play of 23 yards. Neither of these players is as fast as Hill, but the receiving corps are very similar. The stats show what we all know: that Belichick knows what the keys to his opponent’s offenses are and sells out to take those away. In addition to limiting the Eagle wide-outs, New England held Jalen Hurts to 4.1 yards per carry on nine carries. The Patriots’ defense isn’t talented enough to completely shut down the Dolphins’ receivers, but we won’t see Hill running wild around Foxboro like he did in Los Angeles. Miami will have to find other ways to score, which will present them with a challenge. Miami averaged 20 points per game against the Pats last year, and I don’t think they get above that number this week.

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The Pats Will Bounce Back

Miami is a very emotional team coming off a big win against a strong AFC foe, while New England is a more stoic team coming off a hard loss against the Super Bowl loser. I think the Patriots come out more focused to prevent dropping to 0-2 and face an uphill battle to get into the playoff race. Miami is more likely to be a little more complacent as they travel to the northeast for their second consecutive road game. Miami wants to play a fast-paced game like last week, but will be forced to play a more physical contest this week. I think New England puts together and executes the perfect game plan to take down their division opponent. The game will be close down to the end, so getting the points is the way to play this match-up.

Trust Belichick And Back The Pats

Miami has all the highlight reel players, but the play in Foxboro on Sunday Night is to take the 2 points with the Pats as home dogs.

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