The Miami Dolphins open their 2021 NFL season against AFC East rivals New England Patriots on 12th September at the Gillette Stadium, Foxborough.

This is the fourth time in the last 10 years these two sides will face each other for a season opener, and a major NFL odds provider has New England favorites for the game.

Bragging rights have switched between the sides regularly over the past few seasons, and in the past five seasons, the Patriots have six wins, and the Dolphins have five. Last season New England came away with the victory on opening day, winning 21-11 at Foxborough before the Dolphins turned the tables in a resounding 22-12 win at the Hard Rock Stadium in Florida. Tua Tagovailoa was the hero in the second game, scoring two touchdowns in the final quarter in a game where Belichik’s side failed to score a single touchdown.

The Miami Dolphins are into their third season with Brian Flores as Head Coach and have had another off-season to improve on a good season in 2020. Miami had 10 wins in 2020, finishing with a winning record but missing out on a playoff spot. Staff and fans will be looking to improve on this and keep pace with last season’s AFC East champions, the Buffalo Bills.

He will likely be the WR 2 working with DeVante Parker, giving Tua Tagovailao more options in the passing game to make the Dolphins a real threat in the air.

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Tua Tagovailao will also have vertical threats available with speedster Jaylen Waddle drafted sixth-round if he can get time on the ball. He will likely be the WR 2 working with DeVante Parker, giving Tua Tagovailao more options in the passing game to make the Dolphins a real threat in the air. Will Fuller has also been brought in from the Houston Texans on a one-year deal but will be unavailable for this match as he is serving the last of his six-game ban for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Their offensive line needed reinforcements, and the Flores took two, Liam Eichenberg in the second round and Larnel Coleman in the seventh. They had used three rookies consistently in 2020, who each faced at least 700 snaps but didn’t give Tua Tagovailao a huge amount of time on the ball to make plays downfield. With another pre-season together and the experiences of last year, the offensive line will hope to protect Tua better this time out.

Miami’s secondary was one of the best in the NFL last time out, and they have added Cre’Von LeBlanc on a one-year deal to add depth to the defense.

After a long history of winning with Tom Brady under center, the Patriots are in transition, and Belichick put his faith in Cam Newton to take the role of QB going forward. Newton will be hoping for a bounce-back year after a difficult first season in his new side following his release from the Carolina Panthers. He threw for eight touchdowns and gave up 10 interceptions with a pass completion of 65.8% from 368 attempts.

Newton has been awarded another 1-year-deal and will continue as the starter, but New England took Mac Jones with their first draft pick. The Alabama QB will be seen as a long-term replacement to Newton, and Jones will be keen to rival the veteran for a starting role. Jones’s athleticism may not jump out, but his accuracy, poise, and intangibles do stand out, along with a solid arm strength, which has seen him gain comparisons to Matt Ryan.

Belichick has gone on a spending spree this offseason and has addressed the options available to his quarterback. Nelson Agholor (WR) has arrived, an area that needed considerable attention after losing Julian Edleman to injury for most of 2020, and is now retired after failing to show enough fitness to compete anymore.  Hunter Henry has been brought in at Tight End and Jonnu Smith from the Tennessee Titans to give them more depth and variation in this position.

With New England hitting free agency hard and looking to bounce back from their first season since 2008, they look to be favorites going into the season opener. With the experience available to them across both sides of the ball, players like De’Vonta Hightower will be looking to take advantage of a developing Miami offensive line and put Tua Tagovailao under a lot of pressure. With Agholor and Jacobi Meyers available in the passing game and Hunter Henry, Belichick has several options in the air and his consistent run game.

Too much surrounds the consistency and leap in the performance level of Tua Tagovailao for the Dolphins. They have a solid roster in offense and defense, but Tagovailao did not hit the levels they hoped for last season. Flores has faith in the former Alabama QB, and he will be their undisputed QB 1 going into 2021. There were plenty of options available to the Dolphins to bring in a more experienced quarterback to rival and support Tagovailao or draft someone in the first round of the draft. Still, they have shown their faith in the former Heisman winner.

The Patriots may not have a star in WR, but they do have solid options in offense. They may also struggle with some inconsistencies in their quarterback play once again, but their roster and determination to improve with one of the greatest coaches of all time should see them start the season with a win.