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Week 1 Game Thread: Patriots at Dolphins

Note: This is the official Pats Pulpit game thread.

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New England Patriots (0-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-0)

Monday, September 12th 2011 | 7:00 PM ET

TV: ESPN | Radio: 98.5 FM | Phins' Coverage: The Phinsider

After the most hectic offseason in NFL history, the New England Patriots will finally kick off their 2011 season tonight against the Miami Dolphins on primetime television on ESPN for Monday Night Football.

The expectations couldn't be higher for the Patriots in 2011. Following a 14-2 season that ended in a disappointed home playoff loss to the New York Jets, it's Super Bowl or bust for the Patriots this year.

But the Miami Dolphins will be doing everything they can to make sure the Patriots' road to the Super Bowl doesn't come easy. After back-to-back 7-9 seasons following an 11-5 2008 season that netted them a division championship, the Dolphins have actually become underrated to an extent.

The Phins have a solid defense all around. They have one of the best pass rushers in the NFL in Cameron Wake, a player who has terrorized the Patriots in the past. They have a playmaking linebacker in Karlos Dansby. The team also has one of the NFL's most physical and feared cornerback tandems in Vontae Davis and Sean Smith.

Offensively, Miami will also be deploying a more aggressive, attacking style. With Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams departed, the Dolphins brought in former Saint Reggie Bush who should, by himself, make the team more explosive. Chad Henne isn't the greatest quarterback, but he's been underrated to an extent, and he really could excel if he's given more free reign.

All around, I think tonight's game will be relatively close. The Dolphins always play the Patriots tough in Miami, and I certainly think the Patriots still have some things to work on both sides of the ball.

Greg's Prediction: Patriots 27 Dolphins 20