Heading into their Week 17 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the New England Patriots emphasized starting fast — something they had not done during their two losses against Indianapolis and Buffalo the last two games. Their special focus on getting off to a good start paid dividends, and the Patriots jumped to a 28-3 lead at the half.
Heading into the regular season finale against the Miami Dolphins, the question becomes whether or not they can repeat their performance. Using our crystal ball as well as numbers provided by DraftKings Sportsbook let’s try to find out if they will.
Patriots: O/U 11.5 first-half points
The Patriots have scored 12 or more points in the first half in nine of their 16 games so far this season, including last week’s outing versus Jacksonville. For comparison, the Dolphins have surrendered 12 or more in six of their games this year.
Based on that, one would probably lean towards the under. However, if New England performs its opening script as well as it did last week it would not be a surprise to see Mac Jones and company surpass the 11.5 mark against Miami. While a 28-point outing seems unrealistic — the Dolphins are a much better team than the Jaguars — scoring two touchdowns, for example, seems like a feasible goal.
Patriots: -3.5 first-half spread
When New England and Miami met on opening weekend, the teams were tied at 10-10 heading into the half. A lot has changed since then, but it would not be a surprise if the game was a close one once more.
That being said, the Dolphins have struggled in their recent game against Tennessee and were down 17-3 at the half.
The Titans are obviously the number one seed in the AFC right now and one of the better teams in football, but the Patriots are very much capable of finding similar success against an opponent already eliminated from playoff contention — at least to a point where they lead by more than 3.5 heading into the locker room after two quarters.