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NFL Picks -- Patriots-Dolphins: Along Came Jones.... But Is It Tua Time?

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New England Patriots Football

Patriots-Dolphins Game Preview Along With NFL Picks

By Charles Jay

For people who are engaged in doing NFL picks at BetAnySports, it may be difficult to evaluate teams with quarterbacks who have very little pro experience.

Well, that is the case in Foxborough, as the New England Patriots employ a first-time starter against the Miami Dolphins, who turn to that rookie's college predecessor - a veteran of just ten games.

Kickoff is at 4:25 PM ET at Gillette Stadium.

The Pats were disappointing last season; there is no getting around that. They lost Tom Brady to Tampa Bay. They decided to move forward with Cam Newton, who contributed some mobility at the quarterback spot but clearly had some issues throwing the football. It just didn't work for him or the Pats, especially since New England was very short at the receiver position.

The Dolphins were seen to be "tanking" a couple of seasons ago, but what they were trying to do was stockpile draft choices and clear up a lot of cap space. And they did that.

The result was a rather quick turnaround, from 5-11 in 2019 to 10-6 last year, and they missed being a wild card team by just a single game. Ryan Fitzpatrick earned kudos for his efforts, but he had been warming the seat for Tua Tagovailoa, who came in and experienced some growing pains, but kept the ship afloat.

Now the Patriots have drafted the young man who succeeded Tua at Alabama - Mac Jones - and they will be starting him right out of the box on Sunday.

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Patriots-Dolphins: Here are the numbers.....

In the pro football odds against which we will make our NFL picks on this game, the Pats are the slight favorites at home:

New England Patriots -3 (-120)
Miami Dolphins +3 (+100)

Over 43.5 points -110
Under 43.5 points -110

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Patriots-Dolphins: About Miami

The Dolphins profess all the confidence in the world in Tua... or do they?

He came as a first-round draft choice. They have made certain moves that indicate they are going to be constructing all of this with him in mind. They replaced offensive coordinator Chan Gailey with the duo of George Godsey and Eric Studeville, who will put Tua into more formations in which they are using "12" personnel, which is where he had most success last year.

They drafted Tua's college teammate, Jaylen Waddle, who was one of the fastest players in the draft. They signed another speed-burner in Will Fuller. So the wide receiver spot is definitely deeper.

But by now it is evident that the Dolphins expressed some interest in Deshaun Watson, who is available from Houston for the right price. And we're not quite sure what kind of message Tua was supposed to get from that.

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Patriots-Dolphins: About New England

As far as pocket passers are concerned, one must conclude that Mac Jones has a lot of upside. He is smart; he is calm. And he actually can throw it down the field, as he completed 74% of his deep passes at Alabama in his final season.

Bill Belichick and Nick Saban are very close friends, and you can bet Belichick got a detailed report on Jones and his possibilities. And based on the kid's play in the preseason, Newton was cut. Jones has a lot to learn, but he's also ready.

The Pats will run the ball - they were third in the NFL in rushing yards and were one of only three teams in the league that ran the ball more than 50% of the time in 2020.

They went out and acquired WR Nelson Agholor, who averaged 18.7 yards per catch last year. They have new personnel on defense, including Matt Judon and a returning Kyle Van Noy (at Miami last year). Unless Jones trips all over himself, this team should contend.

Patriots-Dolphins: The conclusion

The Pats went out and got two outstanding tight ends (Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry). And their tight ends will be better than Miami's tight ends. Their running game is much better as well. The Dolphins didn't really go out there and acquire an "impact back" and that could prove to be a mistake.

Jones may also prove to be more ready for the pro game than Tua was last season, or is right now. In operating this offense as a "manager," we think he'll turn out just fine. So we lay the points with NEW ENGLAND.

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Posted : 12/09/2021 12:28 pm
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