Same old story that never gets old. Buffalo gets held to 7 points in Baltimore, the Jets blow a home game to the Bengals, and the Dolphins ruin a chance to upset the Seahawks in Seattle. But fear not AFC East compadres, the Bills won the offseason, the Jets still outbid the planet for Revis, and Tannehill almost certainly possibly might be a top 15 quarterback for the Dolphins. Meanwhile, Sunday night in Arizona…
No Brady, No Gronk, No Lewis, No Solder, No Nink, No Vollmer, No problem. Just a phenomenal team win against a strong Cardinals squad at their own place. It truly was a testament to the depth and top to bottom talent on this Patriots roster. And oh yeah, that guy Bill Belichick and his coordinators are pretty good too.
We’re onto Miami.
One down, eighteen to go.
Now let’s take it around the table and see what the BBS crew thinks about this week’s divisional showdown against the ‘Phins…
New England Props:
Jimmy Garoppolo: Over/Under 250 yards passing?
Niko: Jimmy’s got game. He was poised, made some big plays with his feet, but above all, stepped up when he was called on to win the game. That being said, I don’t think he hits this mark on Sunday. UNDER.
Pete: Gotta go with the OVER here. I think the Patriots can really exploit this Miami defense if they can hit the open receiver 10-15 yards downfield in the second level of the Dolphins' secondary. After the long balls we saw from Garoppolo last week, specifically to Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola, I like his chances this week.
Jordan: The poise Jimmy G played with last week against a stout Cards secondary, there is really no reason for me to believe that he can't go OVER the 250 yard mark. He was really impressive against the Cards, and I know it would piss Miko Grimes off if he carves up Miami (because that'll of course be Tannehill's fault).
LeGarrette Blount: Over/Under 59 yards rushing?
Niko: OVER. I thought Blount ran hard and well on Sunday, and while it wasn’t always pretty, for every one-yard loss, there was a nine-yard gain. Plus, his touchdown was the highlight of the week. When he gets going, he’s tough to take down, especially as a corner/safety. That being said, draws out of the shotgun are not his forte. He’s best following Develin in the I-Form.
Pete: I am hoping (and praying) that the Patriots decide to air the football out like I said above. That means, STOP GIVING BLOUNT THE BALL AND RUNNING BEHIND THE CENTER. Sure, Blount can rip off a 15-yard run while dragging three players behind him, but more often than not, he is shuffling his feet behind the line of scrimmage slowly looking for the right hole. UNDER, for my sanity.
Jordan: I'm gonna go with Niko here and say OVER on LB. He was shaky last week but still was effective at time. The few runs that Blount was able to crack off for big gains (including the TD where everyone and their brother tried to tackle him) were enough to help out Jimmy G in the passing game. Keep him out of the shotgun and he shouldn't have a problem getting to at least 60 yards plus a TD.
James White: Over/Under 45 yards from scrimmage?
Niko: White is starting to turn heads. He converted a couple impressive, clutch 3rd downs, reminiscent of Kevin Faulk back in the day. While he’s not quite as jaw-droppingly elusive as a healthy Dion Lewis, White is more than capable to takeover the 3rd down back role in his absence. Hopefully he sees more carries and targets out of the backfield in this one. OVER.
Pete: Like Niko said, I really like what I saw from James White last week. White's issue has always been that he cannot make that first guy miss. He has always been a quick guy and a damn good receiver, but has yet to develop elusiveness. Well guess what, bitches? White looked like Le'Veon Bell last week. OVER.
Jordan: I have to go with UNDER here. I'm really starting to like White, but I don't think he's going to be a focal point this week in particular. I see the big boys getting the bulk of the action (Gronk, Jules, Dola, Hogan).
Julian Edelman: Over/Under 6.5 catches, 62 receiving yards?
Niko: Jules set the tone Sunday night. There’s no other way to put it. Catching the ball, running the ball. What can’t this guy do? He’ll have to do the same this weekend. OVER on both.
Pete: If the Patriots (and my fantasy team) want to notch a W this weekend, they better hope that Julian Edelman didn't leave any of his nastiness in Arizona. Edelman looked like a man amongst boys last week and Garoppolo's blanket when poop hit the fan. OVER.
Jordan: I LOVE pissed off Jules. And that is the guy we saw last Sunday. If he can come in with that same energy, he's going to go WAY OVER on the yards, probably AROUND the 6.5 catch mark.
Martellus Bennett: Over/Under 4.5 catches, 49 receiving yards?
Niko: Bennett is an excellent blocker, which was brought to the forefront with several successful 1-1s against old friend Chandler Jones and other members of the Arizona front 7. With shaky bookends protecting Jimmy, expect Martellus to continue to act mostly as an extra O-lineman for the time being. I’ll go UNDER on these marks, but I think he finds pay dirt in his second game as a Patriot.
Pete: Like Niko said, with such a questionable offensive line, I think it is best that Bennett stays at the LOS and protects our handsome quarterback. UNDER on both, but just because he isn't catching touchdown passes does not mean he does not make a big impact on this game.
Jordan: UNDER. Agreeing with the gents above me, Marty was just too good as an extra lineman against the Cardinals. They need him to do the same this week. I can see him making a couple crucial catches to extend drives. But another question is, is Gronk playing? Because if he is, this line may change drastically; for better or worse.
Ryan Tannehill: Over/Under 259 yards?
Niko: I’ll be honest; I purposely made this line a little high just so I could go UNDER. Call me Goodell I guess. Judge, Jury, and Executioner.
Pete: Tannehill is about as frustrating as Clay Buchholz. All the talent in the world, but his issue is in between his ears. Unfortunately, for Miami fans, Tannehill just isn't that good of a quarterback. He doesn't recognize defensive schemes and relies too heavily on his athleticism. Against one of the better defenses in the NFL, I have to go under here.
Jordan: Pete, you better watch what you say about my boy Clay Buchholz. Anyway, Tannehill is a highly overrated QB and makes bad read after bad read. UNDER, plus a couple picks.
Arian Foster: Over/Under 90 yards from scrimmage?
Niko: UNDER. Foster lasted an entire quarter without tweaking a hammy last weekend… It may get a little easier Sunday, depending on whether Hightower suits up, but I still don’t like this mark for Arian.
Pete: UNDER, you loser. Hopefully you don't tear a quad muscle getting up from kneeing during our National Anthem.
Jordan: UNDER. Foster is an injury waiting to happen, and probably won't make the first snap after his hammy tightens up as he tries to get up from his Anthem "protest."
Jarvis Landry: Over/Under 7.5 catches, 75 receiving yards?
Niko: Landry is the one guy on Miami’s offense that scares me. He’s a flat out playmaker, there’s no way to sugarcoat it. Expect Belichick/Patricia to send plenty of resources his way, but it’s going to be tough to keep this kid quiet. I’ll go OVER on both. He’s going to need to put up numbers for the Dolphins to stay in it.
Pete: I am extremely interested to see how the Patriots decide to cover Landry for this game. Do they put him on an island with Malcolm Butler? Do they put Logan Ryan on him with help over the top from Devin McCourty? Do they play grab-ass with him at the line of scrimmage in hopes of screwing him up mentally? Nonetheless, like Niko said, this kid can ball. OVER, but I hope I am wrong.
Jordan: Landry is kind of a boss; he's going to be the number one target for Tannehill, so I'll go OVER on both. He has an advantage regardless of if it is Butler or Ryan on him.
DeVante Parker: Over/Under 4.5 catches, 59 receiving yards?
Niko: Parker sat out week 1 with a bum hammy, so even if he goes, he’ll likely be limited in some capacity. The image of him burning the Pats secondary for big plays in week 17 last season is still etched in my brain. I’ll go UNDER on catches, but I say he’ll get one downfield and hit the yardage mark. OVER on the 59.
Pete: UNDER on both. I am officially done saying that some no-name wide receiver is going to hurt this team. The defense is just too good.
Jordan: OVER on yards, UNDER on catches. I expect Parker to have a couple long yardage plays.
Jordan Cameron: Over/Under 3.5 catches, 39 receiving yards?
Niko: In both games combined last season against the Pats, Cameron had 4 catches for 40 yards. Unfortunately this line is for just Sunday’s game. UNDER.
Pete: Again, I am going to agree with Niko. I don't see Cameron breaking any reception records on Sunday.
Jordan: Lol, UNDER on both.
Niko: Keep Jimmy upright! Coach Scar’s presence has already been noticeable as the O-line played admirably vs. a tough Cardinals front week 1. Miami’s D-line is one of their strengths. I would hope so, for all that money they’ve dished out… I’ll go with the obvious: Ndamukong Suh vs. the interior Patriot O-line (any combination of Karras/Cooper/Mason, Andrews, Thuney). Keep Suh at bay, establish a bit of a run, manage the game. Win.
Pete: Again, I agree with Niko. The offensive line is the biggest concern for this team until Tom Brady, Nate Solder and Jonathan Copper return. However, just to mix things up, I will say the Patriots' defense against Arian Foster and Miami's running backs. Because Dont'a Hightower is likely OUT on Sunday after not practicing this week, the Patriots will need sure up their linebacker group. Could Barkevious Mingo make an appearance?
Jordan: Yup, it's about the O-Line; especially against a monster like Ndamukong Suh. Don't let Suh get to Jimmy! I don't trust him going anywhere near a defenseless Jimmy G. So I agree with Niko; Suh vs. the interior O-Line. If the Dolphins have any shot at winning, Suh is going to have his stamp on this one.
Niko: The Mountain from Game of Thrones, AKA Big Alan Branch makes his presence felt early and often, with a tackle for a loss and a sack. For a guy as big as he is, creeping up to his low 30s, he hasn’t declined a bit.
Pete: I say that James White breaks off for a big game. If the Dolphins are smart, they will rush the crap out of Jimmy G, which means you could see a lot of screens and delayed hand offs to keep the front-seven balanced.
Jordan: I'll go with Blount Force Trauma erupting for one of his massive games. It'll have to be a joint effort of the line and Blount; but hey, stranger things have happened. Blount runs for 150 and 2 TDs.
Game Total: Over/Under 42?
Niko: Going to roll with the UNDER here, but it’s a pretty low mark. Expect NE to go forward with another heavy dose of Blount (and hopefully more White). Plus, I don’t see Tannehill having much success at all against this defense.
Pete: OVER. The Patriots should be able to manhandle the Dolphins' offense, and, if Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels game planned effectively, they will be able to keep Miami's front-seven at bay.
Jordan: UNDER. And that is just because the Dolphins offense/Pats defense won't allow that to happen.
Final Prediction: (New England -6.5)
Niko: 20-13 Pats. Another big effort from the D, and the Pats take another extended pre-season game to move to 2-0. In Bill We Trust.
Pete: 27-16 Pats. This game may be close for a little bit, but the Dolphins can't keep up with the Pats and a rocking Gillette Stadium should be the 12th man that the Patriots need. 2-0 BABY!!!
Jordan: 28-10 Pats. Home crowd is going to be going ballistic with all the "Free Brady" and "Fire Goodell" chants. The Pats feast off the energy en route to a rout of the Miami Dolphins.