In the first matchup of the 2020 NFL season, fans will get to see an intriguing wide receiver matchup. The Miami Dolphins head up to Foxborough to play the New England Patriots in the season opener in a game that will showcase DeVante Parker and Julian Edelman.
With both players kicking off the season against each other, this will be a key matchup that could determine how one is going to perform for their respective teams as the season progresses.
Can Parker Repeat His 2019 Success?
Parker is on a team that has needed leadership offensively for a few seasons. He was able to provide in that department in 2019, having the best season in his five-year career.
Parker was important to the Dolphins’ success last season and he has the opportunity to build on his nine touchdowns and ink another 1,000-yard receiving season in a turnaround season.
His 2019 campaign saw him score nine touchdowns, tying his total from the previous four seasons. The former first-round pick averaged 16.7 yards per catch for a total of 1,202 yards, 458 more yards than he ever had in a previous single season. Parker also appeared in all 16 games for the first time in his career last season.
Will Edelman Be Able to Solidify a No. 1 Role?
Looking at Edelman, he has been a consistent offensive weapon for the Patriots since he came into the league in 2009. Edelman has not always been the primary receiver for Bill Belichick, but he has been one that the team has been able to rely on in many different situations. He has the ability to play the short and long field, while also finding success in the slot.
His statistics don’t show his versatility completely as his number of receptions have gone up and down from season to season. Edelman is also in a challenging, yet high-floor situation in arguably the biggest rebuilding season he and New England has seen in 20 years.
He’ll likely stay listed as the No. 1 WR on the depth chart, accompanied by Mohamed Sanu and N’Keal Harry as the No. 2 and No. 3. The big question mark at QB will either call for him to be the relying target or teams will flush him out. Edelman’s game-play in 2020 will really show what kind of player he actually is.
While his up and down numbers have been the case for him, he did manage to have one of his best seasons offensively for the Patriots in 2019 when New England looked to struggle as a complete unit. He was on the receiving end of 100 passes from former Patriot QB Tom Brady and racked up 1,117 receiving yards accompanied by six TDs. Edelman averaged 11.2 yards per reception and helped get the team to the AFC Wildcard game, a 20-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Parker, Edelman Face Off in 2020 Week One
Getting to see a matchup between these two players like this in week one can show a lot of things that will give fans a chance to see who will step up when needed during the game. The Dolphins and Patriots are in the midst of two different situations that might cause some problems for both teams offensively in the first game of the season.
Can Miami Put Best Offseason in the NFL to Fruition?
The Dolphins are on the verge of becoming a problem for teams in the league coming out of the AFC East in the new decade. The Dolphins drafted their franchise-hopeful QB in the offseason, Tua Tagovailoa, and proved to gain better experience on both sides of the football. Because the team went out and had a strong offseason in terms of building a better roster, they look to come out in 2020 the same way they finished 2019. A statement victory over the Patriots.
New England in a New Mode For the First Time in Decades
New England’s rebuilding mode is something new for them. It lost Brady and its franchise tight end Rob Gronkowski. There are no answers for whether or not it will be able to be that dominant team they were for the past several seasons. The team now must start almost from the ground up, especially in terms of QB. Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer are vying to become the starter in a daunting shadow from the last 20 seasons, but it is unknown who currently has the upper hand.
Who Has the Ability to Step Up to Kickoff the Season
Both Parker and Edelman will need to work to be the primary receivers on both of their teams. While it seems like there’s no doubt both will on paper, Miami has a lot of young guys behind Parker and players who willingly took massive pay cuts to remain on the roster. New England also traded for Sanu last season from the Atlanta Falcons and has young guys in the wings like Harry who is entering just his second season. Injured last season, fans will hopefully be able to see what Harry brings into a full season.
Week one will look to the veterans to show out when kickoff for the 2020 season takes place. Parker has both experience and youthfulness in regards to being relatively young and athletic that can prove to be a problem for the Patriots defense. The Dolphins defense is nowhere near perfect, but have added a lot of key pieces. The question remains of how well they’ll play together out of the gate, so Edelman can use his experience to potentially dominate.
Kayla Morton contributed to this article.