New England Patriots Links 9/12/11 - Finally! Patriots Open Season In Miami Tonight

Rookie Nate Solder will have to jump straight into the fire in tonight's season opener.

Christopher Price gives us 10 matchups worth keeping an eye on in Monday's season-opener between the Patriots and Dolphins in Miami.

Tom Brady against the Miami defense.  Early in his career, Brady was a bit of a mixed bag when facing the Dolphins at Miami, but he has played well as of late -- he has nine touchdowns, two interceptions and a 138.8 quarterback rating in his last three visits to South Beach. As we mentioned in the first point, the biggest key to the game will be who seizes control early, and for the New England offense, that starts with Brady. If the quarterback and his team are able to kickstart the offense the same way they did in the preseason win over Tampa, things will end well for the Patriots. If they can’t get started early, chances are good they’ll get bogged down early and it’ll end up being a tight one.

Andy Hart opens a six pack of pointers for tonight's game.

Front is center stage - The Dolphins have a few pretty impressive playmakers on offense in Davone Bess, Brandon Marshall and Reggie Bush. But with Chad Henne and his 19 interceptions at quarterback working behind a rather suspect offensive line that talent may not get a chance to shine. On the other side of the line New England's new-look front seven has a chance to make a big debut. Albert Haynesworth and Vince Wilfork will deal with a rookie center in Mike "I'm no Maurkice" Pouncey. Shaun Ellis and Andre Carter should get some pass rush opportunities against a line that's struggled to come together. Jerod Mayo will be in his new, more aggressive Will role in the 4-3. This is as intrigued as I've been by a Patriots defensive front in a number of years. I have high hopes. We got a taste of the potential in the preseason win at Tampa Bay. This return trip to Florida offers a good chance for the group to get after Henne and make some more highlight-reel plays.

TEAM TALK

LOCAL LINKS

NATIONAL NEWS

  • Kevin Fishbain (Pro Football Weekly) Key matchup to watch: Patriots' third down defense vs. Dolphins' third-down offense.
  • Kevin Fishbain (Pro Football Weekly) Key matchup to watch: Dolphins Mike Pouncey vs. Pats DTs Haynesworth and Wilfork.
  • ESPNBoston posts a video of the MNF crew talking Pats-fins. (1.24 min. clip)
  • Clark Judge (CBS Sports) Ten individuals who must respond in high-pressure NFL. Albert Haynesworth makes the list.
  • Don Banks (SI) Ravens dominate, Bears shock, Newton dazzles and more from Week 1.
  • Peter King (SI) MMQB: NFL marks 9/11 anniversary with stirring tributes, entertaining open.
  • Dan Pompei (Nat'l Football Post) NFP Sunday Blitz.
  • Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Congress increases pressure on NFL, NFLPA for HGH testing.

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