Miami Dolphins: 4 bold predictions for Week 1 vs. Patriots
The Miami Dolphins Week 1 contest against the New England Patriots will see them open the 2022 season against their longtime division rival. The matchup has historically been skewed in the Patriots favor, but the Dolphins actually saw themselves win both of the team’s meetings last season. As the game nears, we will be making our Dolphins Week 1 predictions for their opener against the Pats.
Ever since Tom Brady left the Patriots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the matchups between the Dolphins and Patriots have been much closer than it had been for the previous 20 years. Miami won both contests last season, but New England certainly didn’t make it easy on them. With the 2022 season upon us, both teams seem to be evenly matched for the most part.
The Dolphins put together an explosive offseason that saw them revamp their offense around young quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Much of the season is going to depend on how Tagovailoa plays, though, including this contest against the Patriots. With that in mind, let’s take a look at four bold predictions for the Dolphins Week 1 contest against the Patriots.
4. Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa will pass for three touchdowns
As previously mentioned, the 2022 season for the Dolphins is all about Tagovailoa. After two uneven seasons to begin his career, Tagovailoa is going to be looking to make Miami’s starting quarterback role his own. He has all the weapons to do it this time around, so it really is a make-or-break year for Tagovailoa and his tenure with Miami.
Throughout his short two-year career, Tagovailoa has only thrown for three or more touchdowns once. He will put his new weapons to work early against a Patriots secondary that lost their top cornerback in J.C. Jackson this offseason. The Patriots have been burned by Tagovailoa on the ground before, so they will look to slow him down as a runner this time around. But that sacrifice costs them, as Tagovailoa passes for three touchdowns for just the second time in his career.
3. Miami Dolphins CB Xavien Howard will pick-off Mac Jones for the second straight game
Xavien Howard finished off another strong campaign for the Dolphins last season with a pick-six in their season finale against the Patriots. It’s clear that Howard is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and Pats quarterback Mac Jones got a bit aggressive and tried his luck against Howard one too many times, and he ended up paying a stiff price.
That was the last game Howard played, and he will start the 2022 season in similar fashion. New England’s offense has been uneven all throughout training camp, and it will result in Jones firing an interception to Howard on his first drive of the season. Jones and the Pats offense will find their footing afterwards, but Howard ensures that their 2022 campaign gets off to a rough start.
2. Miami Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill struggles in his first game with his new team
The main reason for such optimism out of Miami’s camp heading into the season is because they added a star wide receiver in Tyreek Hill for Tagovailoa to throw to this upcoming season. Hill’s unique blend of insane speed and crisp route running makes him a nightmare for opposing defenses, and he figures to help take the lid off of the Dolphins offense.
While the Patriots secondary isn’t exactly fantastic, New England has had great success in slowing down Hill throughout his career, and that will carry over to his tenure with Miami. Hill will largely be a nonfactor, as he gets doubled teamed by Jonathan Jones and Adrian Phillips for much of the game, and he finishes with just three catches for 45 yards in a quiet debut for the Dolphins.
1. The Miami Dolphins will beat the New England Patriots 27-24 on a last second field goal
While the Dolphins may be the better team on paper, the Patriots are never an easy team to beat, especially with Bill Belichick on the sideline for them. New England will recover from a slow start to score ten unanswered points in the fourth quarter, but give the ball back to Tagovailoa with two and a half minutes remaining in a tie game.
It won’t be the prettiest game-winning drive ever, as Tagovailoa nearly gets picked off by Patriots safety Kyle Dugger, but he does enough to get Jason Sanders in position for a game-winning 50 yard field goal with just five seconds left on the clock. Sanders will bury the kick, and the Dolphins will prove that they are for real in what could end up being a tough AFC East division.