For the optimists
1) Patriots are a superior team
The most obvious reason is that the Patriots are just a much better team than the Dolphins. Last year the Patriots were 16-0 during the regular season while the Dolphins were 1-15. This year the Dolphins having played two games, one at home and one on the road, and are 0-2. Despite having played most of their two games (and the rest of the season) without Tom Brady, the Patriots are 2-0. This was accomplished with Matt Cassel as their quarterback. The Patriots have played one game at home and one on the road as well, including a game against a common division opponent (New York Jets) whom the Patriots beat last week on the road. This is the same Jets team that beat Miami on the road in week one.
The Patriots are 22nd in the NFL in offense averaging 18 points a game while Miami is 26th in offense averaging 12 points a game. The Patriots rank third in the league in defense only allowing 10 points a game while Miami is 25th in league on defense allowing 25.5 points a game.
2) The Patriots can score more points per game than the Dolphins.
Matt Cassel has been in the Patriots system for four years and knows the playbook but lacks experience. Pennington has the experience but doesn't know the playbook or the system yet. Although Brett Favre had a storied career and more experience on his side, he did not fare as well as Cassel because he is still learning the playbook and his receivers. At 196 yards a game the Dolphins are 14th in the NFL passing however they still only average 10 points a game. The Patriots know Pennington from his days as the Jets quarterback and his limitations. If the wind is blowing hard at Foxboro Pennington's arm strength or lack thereof will come into play.
3) Patriots rushing offense verse Dolphins rush defense.
Miami is 12th in the NFL in rush defense allowing an average of 96.5 yards a while the Patriots rush offense averages 115 yards per game with an NFL rank of 16th. The two teams that already defeated the Dolphins this season (Cardinals 108 rushing yards per game NFL rank 17th and (the Jets at 95 rushing yards per game and an NFL rank of 19th) were able to run and control the clock on the Dolphins. The Patriots who have a better rushing attack than either of those two teams should fare no worse.
4) Patriots rush defense verses Dolphins rush offense.
The Dolphins rush offense has been nothing short of abysmal this year. The offensive line is not opening holes for the running backs and when that happens there is no room to run. The Dolphins are 29th in the NFL in rushing averaging only 60.5 yards per game on the ground. The Patriots are 15th in the NFL in rush defense allowing 103 yards per game on the ground.
The front seven of the Patriots should be able to control whatever the Dolphins want to do on the ground making their offense more predicable. The defense should be able to get off of the field on third down situations.
5) The Moss factor.
Randy Moss has not been involved in the Patriots offense since the first half of game one. The receiver has been a model citizen in New England thus far but you have to wonder about his mindset if the Patriots don't get him more involved this game. Moss had a monster game against Miami last year at this time. Although Cassel -- not Brady -- is the quarterback, the Dolphins still rank 30th in the NFL in pass defense allowing 272.5 yards per game. This pass defense is tailor made to get Moss back on track and help forge a relationship between quarterback and receiver. The Patriots will need Moss' big play ability the rest of the season and this is not the time to get Moss head going in the wrong direction. Miami is just what the doctored ordered.
If (I should say WHEN New England wins) and their record goes to 3-0 this will be just the eight time in the franchises 49 year history that they will have started a season 3-0.
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