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NFL 2020 schedule release: Patriots enter Week 1 as significant favorites over the Dolphins

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Related: 2020 Patriots schedule unveiled

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images

The New England Patriots, as was announced as part of the NFL’s schedule release on Thursday night, will open their 2020 campaign against one of their division rivals: the Miami Dolphins will visit Gillette Stadium in a rematch of last year’s regular season finale. But while the Dolphins won the last meeting with a final score of 27-24, and the home team no longer has quarterback Tom Brady available, the oddsmakers feel confident in the Patriots.

In fact, they feel so confident that they gave the team the fourth-best early odds among all 32 teams to come away victoriously on opening weekend. According to DraftKings SportsBook, the Patriots enter the game as 7.5-point favorites with the over/under being set at 44 points. A lot can and will obviously happen between now and the two teams’ meeting on September 13 at 1:00pm, but those early odds are an indication how both teams are perceived at the moments.

While Miami, which finished the 2019 season with a 5-11 record and picking fifth overall in the draft, is seen as a rebuilding team behind first-round rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and second-year head coach Brian Flores, New England is still viewed favorably — at least in that one game. Despite fielding a new quarterback and losing other serious talent over the course of the offseason outside of Tom Brady, the combination of talented defense and head coach Bill Belichick is attractive to the bookmakers.

Just look at it from this perspective: If Tagovailoa indeed lines up under center for the Dolphins in Week 1, he will try to become the first ever quarterback to beat a Belichick-led Patriots team in his first career start. A total of eight passers have attempted to do just that, but all of them failed — seven of which while going against a Belichick-led New England team:

First-time starting QBs versus Bill Belichick’s Patriots

Quarterback Team Season Score Attempts Completions Completion % Yards TDs INTs Rating Sacks
Quarterback Team Season Score Attempts Completions Completion % Yards TDs INTs Rating Sacks
Luke Falk New York Jets 2019 L 14-30 22 12 54.6 98 0 1 47.2 5
Tyrod Taylor Buffalo Bills 2015 L 32-40 30 23 76.7 242 3 3 93.3 8
EJ Manuel Buffalo Bills 2013 L 21-23 27 18 66.7 150 2 0 105.5 0
Jake Locker Tennessee Titasn 2012 L 13-34 32 23 71.9 229 1 1 89.2 2
Tyler Palko Kansas City Chiefs 2011 L 3-34 37 24 64.9 230 0 3 48.3 3
Matt Flynn Green Bay Packers 2010 L 27-31 37 24 64.9 251 3 1 100.2 5
Luke McCown Clevelannd Browns 2004 L 15-42 34 20 58.8 277 2 2 80.1 3
Pro Football Reference

Tagovailoa is a higher-profile passer than any of those listed but he will face a tough task if he indeed is named the starter for the Dolphins for opening week instead of veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, for example. Either way, the oddsmakers feel confident in the Patriots to defeat whoever lines up on the other side — despite all their offseason turnover and with quarterback Jarrett Stidham likely making his first career start in the NFL as well.