The Miami Dolphins play their first regular season game of the campaign when they host the New England Patriots in Week One on Sunday.

This is the third straight year when the Dolphins have taken on their AFC East rival on opening day. They have tasted defeat and victory in the past two seasons, but what will they do this season?

Here is a preview for the upcoming Week One matchup between the Dolphins and Patriots at the Hard Rock Stadium.

Tua vs. Mac

This was one of the main focus points heading into the 2021 season opener, with both players having been in the same quarterback room at Alabama under Nick Saban.

The same narrative is being built this year, but there are different talking points. Tua went into 2021 with question marks; nothing changed in 2022. Mac Jones went into 2021 as a rookie with little expectation and was the best rookie QB despite Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields also going into that season as first-year pros.

Tua has been given extra weapons in Tyreek Hill, Raheem Mostert, Chase Edmonds, and Cedrick Wilson. Meanwhile, Mac’s only additional weapon came from Miami but had only once managed to stay on the field all season.

Mac has been subject to criticism in the media for his preseason. In contrast, Tua has had a good preseason when he has played, and both Tyreek and new head coach Mike McDaniel have done nothing but praise the 2020 first overall pick all offseason.

It is different when you go into the season off the back of a promising rookie season compared to one with no pressure. It is different when you go into the season with new weapons. Their battle is going to be a fascinating one.

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How McDaniel Matches Up Against Bill Belichick In Week One

The Dolphins have won their last three games against Bill Belichick. The last time the Dolphins lost to their fierce rivals was in Week One of the 2020 season. Former head coach Brian Flores seems to have his former colleague’s number, with another win in the 2019 season as Miami went to Foxboro and shocked the Pats, denying them the first-round bye.

Miami now has a McVay coaching tree member instead of the Belichick tree. The New England head coach, who many feel is the best in the sport’s history, has a great record against rookie quarterbacks (21-6). It will be interesting to see how he does against a rookie head coach in Mike McDaniel.

McDaniel only faced the Patriots once during his time with the San Francisco 49ers, when they faced off in October 2020. He was the run game coordinator in 2020 before becoming the offensive coordinator in 2021.

When they did meet, the 49ers won 33-6 and had 467 yards, almost double New England’s 247. The run game went crazy, with Jeff Wilson running for 112 of the 49ers’  197 rushing yards and getting three of their four rushing touchdowns.

McDaniel will also want to run the ball in this game, with the Patriots 22nd in run defense in 2021. His intention to run the ball is evident with the additions of Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds this offseason and trading for a wide receiver Hill, who can run for the house off a short pass.

Miami has had the better offseason, and New England’s marquee signing is a former Dolphins player who could not stay fit; this gives hope that they cannot only win this game but also sweep the Patriots. Not to forget the loss of cornerback J.C. Jackson, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, and confusion surrounding the latter’s replacement.

Prediction: New England 17-34 Miami.

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