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.
- Andy Hart reports five players have officially been downgraded to OUT, including Sebastian Vollmer (back), Jermaine Cunningham (groin) and Taylor Price (hamstring).
- Andy Hart offers us his season opener six-pack to get us ready for Pats-Fins tonight.
- Erik Scalavino says the 'New Gronk' is catching on quickly and more notes from Friday at Gillette.
- Erik Scalavino and Paul Perillo debate which position is causing the most concern, safety or linebacker.
- Erik Scalavino listens as the Patriots' coaches share their thoughts on the events of that unforgettable Tuesday on 9/11/01.
- Patriots Today - Perillo's points for the opener. (3.19 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Solder in the spotlight. (1.32 min. video)
- Locker Room Uncut - Hear from Dan Gronkowski. (2 min. video)
- Patriots All Access: Part I (16.58 min. video) and Part II (23.30 min. video)
- PFW TV - Patriots-Dolphins preview. (22.02 min. video)
- Mike Reiss offers some quick-hit weekend thoughts from the Patriots and around the NFL.
- Jim McBride presents his Patriots at Dolphins scouting report.
- Karen Guregian notes the defensive facelift will finally be unveiled tonight.
- Mark Farinella reports the Patriots and Dolphins are jumping into the divisional dogfight tonight.
- Karen Guregian ticks off her checklist for Pats-Fins tonight.
- Greg A. Bedard reports that for Bill Belichick, it's championships or nothing.
- Monique Walker notes Tom Brady knows titles are not won by reputation and the road to the Super Bowl is never easy.
- Tom E. Curran talks about the additions to the Patriots who should make an impact and make plays if Tom Brady can't.
- The Comcast SportsNet staff answers 12 key questions before the opening kickoff.
- Mark Farinella looks at the lingering questions following the Patriots into the new season.
- Mike Petraglia notes Deion Branch and Wes Welker are supremely confident in the Patriots passing game.
- Mike Petraglia wonders if Nate Solder will take the right tackle spot if Sebastian Vollmer is unable to play.
- Chris Forsberg focuses on the Patriots' pass rush.
- Phil Perry takes a look at the state of the Patriots' roster, position-by-position, as it stands now.
- Chris Forsberg notes the Patriots have the third-highest number of undrafted players on their 53-man roster, at 18.
- Mike Reiss lists the seven free agents recently in for workouts over the last few days.
- Ron Borges states that statistically speaking, the window of opportunity may already have come down on Tom Brady.
- Steve Buckley writes that the great Brady-Manning rivalry is at risk.
- Ian Rapoport Patriots Notebook: Rookie Nate Solder will be starting over Sebastian Vollmer (back); Pats have nine D-linemen to be able to rotate liberally and keep everyone fresh; It's still a question as to which WRs will start tonight; Devin Mccourty is aware of the threat Fins new RB Reggie Bush can bring; Belichick may choose someone besides Ryan Mallett to be the 46th player tonight.
- 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.
VIEW FROM MIAMI
- Armando Salguero (Miami Herald) Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots game breakdown.
- Omar Kelly (Sun Sentinel) Dolphins defense intends to prove Tom Brady is "human".
- Ben Volin (Palm Beach Post) Expect Miami Dolphins to use 'element of surprise' against Patriots.
- Mike Berardino (Sun Sentinel) Dolphins know they need to make those Patriot explosions stop.
- Andrew Carter (Sun Sentinel) Dolphins vs. Patriots - who has the edge?
- Jeff Darlington (Miami Herald) Miami Dolphins look to give home crowd something to cheer about.
- Brian Biggane (Palm Beach Post) Last year's special teams nightmare can't be repeated Monday night.