Last week the Miami Dolphins were obliterated when the Baltimore Ravens came to town. This week they’ll play host to the New England Patriots. The Patriots will be looking to give the Dolphins the same result they were given last week- a big zero in the win column.
New England’s offense will be looking to leave just as big of an impact as the Ravens did on the Dolphins’ defense and hope to give the Dolphins their second loss of the young season.
The Patriots have always had big-name players give stellar performances, especially against division rivals such as the Dolphins. On the Dolphins’ side of the ball, many players want to get an early start on keeping this from being a last place season for Miami after an embarrassing loss to the Ravens in week one. Here are the game’s top-five players to watch for:
DeVante Parker, WR, Miami
Coming off three catches for 75 yards against the Ravens’ top-tier defense could mean trouble for New England. If the Dolphins can keep up with the Patriots this week on the board, Parker may be a big part of a shootout. He’ll have to prove he can catch more than three passes though, which he is capable of doing, to be a full-game impact however.
Josh Rosen, QB, Miami
Back up quarterback Rosen could be a player to watch in the Dolphins’ home game this weekend. He came into the game in garbage time last week just to get some experience, but if the offense fails to keep up with the Patriots like they did with the Ravens, Rosen could see the field a lot sooner.
Rosen looked to play better after he miserably threw an interception on his first career Dolphins pass. Likely nerves, he has had an extra week of practice and more time to learn the play book, so if he comes into the game he should be more successful.
Kenyan Drake, RB, Miami
Here’s a guy we should be looking for, but not in a good way. The Dolphins fell behind early in the game against Baltimore last week, and in doing so, the run game took a big toll. Miami’s entire team only saw 12 carries for a combined 21 yards, meanwhile the Ravens more than tripled both of those numbers, carrying the ball 46 times for 265 yards in the game. Drake only saw four carries for 12 yards and another two catches for 15 yards on the day.
It’s safe to say that when you’re the starting running back, 27 yards on six touches isn’t exactly the performance you had hoped for. If Brady and the rest of Bill Belichick’s offense are firing on any cylinders this weekend, the Dolphins’ run game could take another hit. Drake could be the face behind another unproductive outing if Dolphins’ head coach Brian Flores’ offense can’t keep up.
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Tom Brady, QB, New England
One player to always look out for when you play New England is number twelve himself, Tom Brady. Six Super Bowls in the bag and he’s hoping for more. Coming off nearly a 350-yard and three touchdown outing against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night, Brady looks to keep the numbers up.
Baltimore’s QB Lamar Jackson threw all over the Dolphins defense last week, throwing for five touchdowns behind 324 yards. The second year quarterback has been known for his ability to move the ball with his feet versus through the air, but it was the opposite against Miami last week. If Lamar Jackson can have such an all-star outing, it’s to be assumed an elite player such as Brady will want to top that.
Antonio Brown, WR, New England
Another player to watch out for playing for New England is Antonio Brown. He’ll likely be trying to prove himself again after such a dramatic offseason. From outdated helmets, to frostbitten feet, to domestic abuse allegations, Brown failed to prove his worth to the Oakland Raiders. With a new quarterback, new coach and new offensive scheme, he’ll be looking to show New England he’s worth the near 24 million dollar incentivized contract the Patriots signed him for.
Honorable mention: Xavien Howard, CB, Miami
Some joke before Dolphins/Patriots matchups that Howard is one of Brady’s favorite receivers. Especially in Miami. Howard has more interceptions and pass breakups against Brady at home than he does away. While over the years Brady has adjusted and thrown the ball less in the direction of Howard, Howard clearly makes his presence known to Brady, especially in Miami.