The Pre-Game Thread: Wk.1 vs Phins

SeoulSoxFan

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Wow, it seems surreal that we're going to see the Patriots play this Sunday.

Losing Harris for the first week hurts but McD has enough to work with in Michel, Burkhead, and White. Having Andrews back is a huge plus. I'm excited to see Uche and Thor play together, helped out by the best secondary unit in the game.

Miami fans seem delighted to have signed away KVN, Roberts, and Karras from NE. Not really shedding many tears at losing them, especially with $30m guaranteed for Van Noy. They'll be relying on old friend Eric Rowe at SS and that's a match up I like.

The spread is -6.5 Pats. 538 has it -6 and 71% win probability. That sounds about right.

Oh, and I can't wait for Cam's debut. It's going to be a fun ride!
 

SeoulSoxFan

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How does the running game look? What progress habe the rookie TEs made? Does Cam have chemistry with the wideouts? N’Keal the 2 WR? Can we stop the run?
Perhaps not surprisingly, I am not expecting much from Cam. If he can avoid TO and keep the chains moving, I'll be happy.

Yeah, I am very much looking forward to Asiasi and Dalton. I think Asiasi was banged up a little towards the end but other than that, have heard nothing but praise from Lazar, Hill, and other beat guys.

Speaking of, Lazar mentioned in his CLNS podcast (great listen, BTW) that N'Keal would often beat the corner off the snap but Brady often wouldn't look in his direction. We'll see if Cam has more trust than TB.

Of course, I'll be screaming my head off if JJ Taylor ever gets a long run off.

In other news, Miami players will stay inside during both anthems:

 

tims4wins

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I hate to say it but I feel like Miami +6.5 is a gift line. If the pats pull this one out it’s close.
6 to 6.5 is shocking to me. Especially since we don't know anything about HFA. If these two teams met on a neutral field, I think a fair line would be somewhere between Pats -0.5 to Pats -1.5
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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6 to 6.5 is shocking to me. Especially since we don't know anything about HFA. If these two teams met on a neutral field, I think a fair line would be somewhere between Pats -0.5 to Pats -1.5
We don't know much about either of these teams. I'm more bullish on the Patriots this season than most, though, so this line feels right to me.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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Wow, it seems surreal that we're going to see the Patriots play this Sunday.

Losing Harris for the first week hurts but McD has enough to work with in Michel, Burkhead, and White. Having Andrews back is a huge plus. I'm excited to see Uche and Thor play together, helped out by the best secondary unit in the game.

Miami fans seem delighted to have signed away KVN, Roberts, and Karras from NE. Not really shedding many tears at losing them, especially with $30m guaranteed for Van Noy. They'll be relying on old friend Eric Rowe at SS and that's a match up I like.

The spread is -6.5 Pats. 538 has it -6 and 71% win probability. That sounds about right.

Oh, and I can't wait for Cam's debut. It's going to be a fun ride!
Surprised to see they had the Pats favored in 11 of the 16 games, with the 5 non-favorites being KC, BAL, SEA and a road game in BUF where they were +.5, so pretty much a toss up.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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I think it’s basically a “respect Belichick until we know more” line.
I mean...is it?

People are SO down on this team this year. And, yes, they have their struggles. The schedule is going to be brutal, and they very well may not even make playoffs. But for this game?

Newton or Fitzpatrick?

Belichick or Flores?

McDaniels or Gailey?

The #1 overall 2019 defense or the #32 overall 2019 defense?

I actually really like the direction the Dolphins are heading. And the Patriots are in a weird time in their history. But for this game? 6.5 feels fine for me.
 

tims4wins

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FWIW, the Pats were -17 in the week 17 game.

So Vegas is saying that all of the changes since then are worth 10.5 points. It's more fair from that perspective.
 

SoxinSeattle

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Nm. Go Pat's! I watched Cam highlights last night and couldn't be more on board. It's going to be different but could be great.
 

sodenj5

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Interesting times for both franchises. Miami in year 2 of their rebuild and the Pats rolling out an offense without Brady for the first time in two decades.

My guess is a low scoring, run based attack for both teams. My wild guess is NE dusts off some of the Gronk-Hernandez era playbooks and goes from there.

By the same token, I don’t think Miami lines up and throws it into the strength of the Pats roster either. They threw the ball last year because Fitz was their leading rusher, not because they believed DeVante Parker vs Gilmore was a favorable matchup.

Good luck this season.
 

SeoulSoxFan

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Damn, no Gunner for this game. Having him and Harris would have really helped out.

The defense needs to carry this game on its back even more now.
 

pjheff

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Damn, no Gunner for this game. Having him and Harris would have really helped out.

The defense needs to carry this game on its back even more now.
While I know we‘re hoping for year two improvement, we’re still talking about players who amassed two receptions and four carries, respectively, last season. If this team can’t endure their absence, it is truly fucked.

So who’s fielding punts tomorrow?
 

Mystic Merlin

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While I know we‘re hoping for year two improvement, we’re still talking about players who amassed two receptions and four carries, respectively, last season. If this team can’t endure their absence, it is truly fucked.

So who’s fielding punts tomorrow?
As long as the guy can fair catch the ball and know when not to catch the ball at all, that’s good enough for me. Punters are generally so good that live returns are less important than making sound decisions about when to field the punt at all and, if you do, securing a fair catch.
 

tims4wins

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As long as the guy can fair catch the ball and know when not to catch the ball at all, that’s good enough for me. Punters are generally so good that live returns are less important than making sound decisions about when to field the punt at all and, if you do, securing a fair catch.
I've said this for a few years, but I'd love to see a research project on punt returns in the NFL that includes penalties and muffs / fumbles. I would bet that if a team were to just fair catch pretty much every punt, they'd be no worse off than when trying to return a lot of punts due to both holding / block in the back penalties, as well as turnovers. Ball security is #1.
 

joe dokes

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As long as the guy can fair catch the ball and know when not to catch the ball at all, that’s good enough for me. Punters are generally so good that live returns are less important than making sound decisions about when to field the punt at all and, if you do, securing a fair catch.
This is a great point. And while I dont think BB shackles returners that way, if he did, I'd be fine with Edelman back there. The right decisions can be worth enough yards of field position that it can be decisive in those field-switching, field position, field goal games that the Patriots might play a bunch of.
 

pjheff

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Dugger will probably get a chance
The boom-to-bust ratio here seems poor. I fear he’s much more likely to do something boneheaded to cost us the game than something spectacular to win it.

As long as the guy can fair catch the ball and know when not to catch the ball at all, that’s good enough for me. Punters are generally so good that live returns are less important than making sound decisions about when to field the punt at all and, if you do, securing a fair catch.
I’m wondering if BB will stick Jules back there with the Chung orders to catch but not advance the ball. Don’t take any unnecessary hits but trust that he’ll make the right play.
 

rodderick

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The boom-to-bust ratio here seems poor. I fear he’s much more likely to do something boneheaded to cost us the game than something spectacular to win it.



I’m wondering if BB will stick Jules back there with the Chung orders to catch but not advance the ball. Don’t take any unnecessary hits but trust that he’ll make the right play.
Why? Wasn't he a very good punt returner in college?
 

pjheff

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Why? Wasn't he a very good punt returner in college?
You can call my concerns ungrounded. I would fear that his success as a punt returner was a result of an athletic advantage he had over other Division II players, which won’t transfer to the league, and that he might be a bit overwhelmed by his first pro game, having played in relative obscurity at Lenoir-Rhyne.
 

BigSoxFan

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I don’t want any rookie playing his first NFL game to return punts. Just put Jules back there to fair catch everything. Zero margin for error with this offense.
 

Super Nomario

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I don’t want any rookie playing his first NFL game to return punts. Just put Jules back there to fair catch everything. Zero margin for error with this offense.
Isn't the flip side that a big play or two on special teams might help out a punchless offense by putting them in better position? I'd probably be more inclined to err on the side of conservatism if my offense is really good. 10 yards doesn't mean crap to an O like the Chiefs; it might be a big deal for the Pats.
 

BigSoxFan

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Isn't the flip side that a big play or two on special teams might help out a punchless offense by putting them in better position? I'd probably be more inclined to err on the side of conservatism if my offense is really good. 10 yards doesn't mean crap to an O like the Chiefs; it might be a big deal for the Pats.
That’s definitely a fair way to look at it. I just am hyper-conservative on all returns. I’ve seen so many KR returns to the 18 from this team and still have Cyrus the Virus nightmares. I will admit to being somewhat curious at seeing if Dugger’s athleticism on returns translates to NFL.
 

Zedia

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Jed Zeppelin

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I've said this for a few years, but I'd love to see a research project on punt returns in the NFL that includes penalties and muffs / fumbles. I would bet that if a team were to just fair catch pretty much every punt, they'd be no worse off than when trying to return a lot of punts due to both holding / block in the back penalties, as well as turnovers. Ball security is #1.
You could also let the other 10 pin their ears back and go for a block every time. Could be a fun strategy.
 

Clears Cleaver

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just an FYI...Miami is still not sure on the o-line. Rookies at two and maybe three spots. And both high-paid cornerbacks are banged up. IF everyone is healthy I would say Miami would press the outside and basically force the ball to the slot and to the backs, but not as easy when both Xavier Howard and Byron Jones are hurt. I was expecting Pats to run the ball 30-40 times as Miami's D was horrific last year. Maybe Van Noy and the two new ends might help, as will Raekwon Davis, but I suspect BB will test that first.

Dolphin's WRs are not great, but Preston Williams has been good in camp after flashing last year before tearing his aCL. but they brought in two slot guys in the last 10 days. Also, Brieda has been a big disappointment in camp, so maybe more Jordan Howard than you'd expect (or want if you're a Dolphins fan).

Dolphins will struggle to score. really will depend on how Cam does against a D that has 6-7 new players
 

pdaj

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As a glimpse into last year’s story for Miami ... Ryan Fitzpatrick was the team’s leading rusher. And THAT team went into Foxboro and beat New England, who needed the win to secure a playoff BYE. (It’s still hard to believe.) I’m curious about a lot things headed into this game, but the Dolphins use of Howard and Breida is right up there. Their upgrade over Laird and Ballage is significant. Of course, whether the additions of Jackson, Flowers, Karras, and Kindley = offensive line improvement is just as important. I do think the Dolphins will look to run plenty and often.
 
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Stidham's inactive could very well be injury-related, even just that he's taken fewer reps b/c of the hip. After a reportedly impressive training camp, Uche is an eyebrow-raise and kind of a bummer, no matter the circumstance - last-minute injury? Lateness? BB wanting to go "bigger" against Miami today. Even that last one would be a disappointment b/c an impact player selected somewhat high shouldn't be bumped bc of a scheme issue. Hoping it's just a bump in the road.