3 New England Patriots Bold Predictions for Week 1
The New England Patriots open up the 2020 NFL season hosting the Miami Dolphins in Week 1. The Patriots are favored by 6.5 points in this one and are expected to start the season 1-0.
Behind a new quarterback, the Patriots may need other players to step up and make sure they start the season off with a win. With that in mind, here are three bold predictions for the Patriots against the Dolphins.
1. Julian Edelman Eclipses 100 Yards and Scores a TD
A change in QB may seem like it could cause a decline in Julian Edelman's role, but it seems that Cam Newton has already taken a shine to Edelman. Newton referred to Edelman as a player who understands what it takes to win and compared him to the likes of Steve Smith in Carolina. It will take time for wide receivers N'Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers to develop into NFL caliber wide receivers (especially with no 2020 preseason), so look for Newton to target Edelman early and often in this matchup. The Dolphins ranked in the bottom fifth of the NFL in most passing defense categories and gave up the most touchdowns to wide receivers in 2019. Edelman has proved himself to be a red zone threat throughout his career, posting 6 receiving touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. The Dolphins gave up over 260 passing yards per game last year and if Newton wants to take advantage of that, expect Edelman to have a huge game in Week 1.
2. Stephon Gillmore Shuts Down DeVante Parker
Stephon Gillmore played lights out as the leader of the Patriots' defense last season on his way to winning the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Gilmore nabbed 6 interceptions to go along with a career best 20 passes defended. He constantly shut down wide receivers, but had some trouble when it came to Dolphins' DeVante Parker. In Week 17, Parker Posted 137 yards on eight receptions while mostly being guarded by Gillmore. The Patriots ranked No. 1 in the league in passing defense and only gave up 173.9 passing yards per game. Expect Gilmore and the defense to come into this game with some extra motivation to stop Parker from tearing apart the secondary once again. If the Patriots are able to make Parker a non-factor in the game, they will force quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphin's offense to beat them in ways they haven't been able to in their most recent matchups.
3. Sony Michel Rushes for over 100 yards
The Patriots have built a reputation for not utilizing the running back position the same way many other teams do. They do not usually have a workhorse running back that they give 20-plus carries a game to. However, with a new quarterback in Newton, Bill Belichick and the coaching staff may look to running back Sony Michel to carry the load in the first game of the season. After only receiving 20-plus carries five times last year, Michel may be looked at as more a workhorse this season thanks to there being little competition behind him. Damien Harris is currently injured, while Rex Burkhead and James White serve more as pass-catching RBs. The Miami Dolphins gave up the sixth-most rushing yards per game last season (135.4) and faced the most rush attempts of any team in the NFL. Michel has put up 900-plus rushing yards in each of his two NFL seasons and averaged 78.5 rushing yards against the Dolphins in 2019. If the Patriots get up early, which they very well could as big favorites, his workload could be especially strong, allowing him to build off that past success and rack up at least 100 rushing yards on Sunday.
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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.