The New England Patriots are starting right where they left off last year, against the Miami Dolphins. New England has always had issues with Miami, and last year was no different. Ryan Fitzpatrick led a game winning drive to knock the Pats from the two seed which led to a wild card loss, and the end of an era.
The start of a new era is upon us, with new faces at key positions, and old friends now on the other side, here’s what to keep an eye on during tomorrow’s game.
Cam Newton and the new look offense
Cam Newton is by far the most interesting story heading into tomorrow’s matchup. The Patriots have been tight lipped as usual when it comes to how the offense will look. Newton however is the type of quarterback Josh McDaniels has always wanted.
The pairing of McDaniels and Newton will likely consist of a heavy dose of misdirection plays, RPOs and designed quarterback runs. The last opportunity McDaniels had to incorporate plays like those was in 2016 with Jacoby Brissett. So watch for plenty of play calls like this one below.
Stephon Gilmore and DeVante Parker
The reigning defensive player of the year Stephon Gilmore, and Miami’s best receiver DeVante Parker were a tale of two stories in 2019.
Their week 2 matchup went in Gilmores favor as he held the wideout to zero receptions on seven targets. The Patriots won easily, dominating the Dolphins on both sides of the ball resulting in a 43-0 victory.
In week 17 it was Parker’s turn to dominate as he torched the All Pro cornerback. Parker’s eight receptions on eleven targets for 137 yards led to a Dolphins victory while robbing the Patriots first round bye.
Tomorrow is a fresh start and Gilmore vs. Parker will be very entertaining. Gilmore is ready for the rubber match
Gilmore will be the main focus because of last years week 17 loss, but fans shouldn’t be concerned with the secondary.
The front seven will be a huge question mark. With players opting out because of COVID-19, free agent departures, and young players stepping into larger roles.
The same goes for the offense. After Julian Edelman, the Patriots will be relying on young players at the receiver position. So tomorrow my focus will be on the youngsters just as much as Cam Newton and Gilmore.
Patriots achievements to keep an eye on tomorrow
Julian Edelman enters tomorrow’s contest with 599 career receptions. He needs one catch to become only the second player in Patriots history with 600 receptions. He also only needs one touchdown reception to tie Wes Welker with 37 career touchdowns.
The New England Patriots are looking to become the first original AFL team to reach 550 wins tomorrow, and that is definitely something significant to watch out for.
–Mike Quilty is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage and covers the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @boston_sp0rts20