What experts are predicting for Sunday’s Patriots-Dolphins game

Patriots

The Patriots’ upset over the Bills last week has a few people thinking they could upset the Dolphins, who are nearly double-digit favorites.

Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones face off for the fifth time in their NFL careers on Sunday. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

COMMENTARY

If they win Sunday, Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline gets a lot more interesting. 

Should the Patriots pull off the upset in Miami, of all places — where they are 17-41 (!) all-time — they’ll suddenly be sitting at 3-5 in what was, just a fortnight ago, a lost season. After this weekend, the schedule in front of them includes Washington, Indianapolis, New York (Giants), and Pittsburgh before welcoming Kansas City to Foxborough on Dec. 18. After what we witnessed last weekend against Buffalo, those are all winnable games for the Patriots. Heck, by the time the Chiefs arrive, New England could be sitting there at 7-5 before anyone found the time to figure out what happened. 

Lose in Miami, and the trade deadline becomes a yard sale. 

If they win though, what’s to stop Bill Belichick from picking up the phone to see what it would take to pry Jerry Jeudy out of Denver or Davante Adams out of Las Vegas? Imagine his head being on the chopping block to enter the month, and ending it by emphatically stating that the Patriots are still in the race. 

This weekend determines a whole lot about how this season’s second half will go. Are the Patriots ready to emerge, or are they just the latest example of the “any given Sunday” cliché? 

Denver follows Kansas City, then Buffalo again, and the Jets.  You’d be mocked for suggesting a 12-5 season is still on the table. 

But not by everybody. 

This week’s predictions 

Greg Cote, Miami Herald: Dolphins 31, Patriots 17. “Mistake-prone Pats have an upset shot if Mac Jones has a clean sheet, but I like Fins here. Miami is on a 15-3 run at home (3-0 this season), with the defense appreciably better in the 3-0-5. And this offense is good enough to withstand the absence of Hill — although that on top of losing De’Von Achane is a blow.”

Globe staff: All six like New England +9.5

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Dolphins 26, Patriots 21. “The Patriots are coming off an impressive home victory over the Bills where Mac Jones showed some life. The Dolphins lost to the Eagles Sunday night in a game where the offense scored just one touchdown. New England slowed Miami in the first meeting. That same strategy will keep them in this game. It’s closer than you think.” 

CBS Sports staff: Five of eight take Miami (-9). 

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times: Dolphins 27, Patriots 21. “New England got a rare confidence boost with a win over Buffalo, and Miami scored only 17 points in a loss to Philadelphia. The Patriots stayed within a touchdown in the first game with the Dolphins this season.”

Michael Hurley, CBS Boston: New England (+9.5). “Don’t look now, but the Patriots are HOT! OK, not really. But! With Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle nursing injuries, it’ll be hard for Miami to go full-speed-ahead against a Patriots defense that actually did a decent job against the full-powered Dolphins back in Week 2. And if last week was any indication, Bill O’Brien and Mac Jones might have actually figured out how to run a functional offense behind that shaky offensive line.” 

Jimmy Kempski, Philly Voice: Dolphins (-9.5). “When the Dolphins got punched in the mouth earlier this season against the Bills, they responded with a comfortable win against a bad team (the Giants) at home the following week. I imagine they’ll do the same this week after their offense was shut down on Sunday Night Football in Philly.”

ESPN staff: Seth Wickersham is sticking with the Pats for a second week in a row. Everybody else is not. 

Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: Dolphins (-9.5). “I don’t really believe the Patriots figured it all out before a win over the Bills. It’s just that the Bills haven’t been very good lately. The Dolphins might not be able to beat elite opponents yet, but they do generally handle bad teams with ease.” 

Sheil Kapadia, The Ringer: Miami (-9.5). “I can’t quite figure out this line. It feels high. The Dolphins and Patriots played in Week 2, and it was a competitive game that Miami won 24-17. Now the Dolphins could be without the player (Hill) who makes the whole offense go, and they are a 9.5-point favorite. I’m tempted to take the Patriots, but I don’t want to overreact to one impressive showing. They looked like one of the worst teams in the NFL through the first six weeks of the season. I could easily regret this one, but give me the Dolphins.”

MMQB staff: Conor Orr goes with the Pats. The other six go with the ‘Fins. 

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Dolphins 31, Patriots 24. “The Patriots’ offense found plenty of life with Mac Jones throwing downfield in the upset of the Bills, thanks to the running game providing a big spark. They hung in there, losing by a touchdown (24-17) in the Week 2 meeting in New England. Miami is more dynamic offensively on the road, but with uncertain injury status defensively, Jones and his key skill players can stay hot enough to make it a little interesting again.”

Bill Bender, Sporting News: Dolphins 31, Patriots 19. “Bill Belichick earned his 300th victory in Week 7, and now the Patriots head to Miami – where the Dolphins are coming off a loss to Philadelphia. Miami is a different team at home. Miami is 3-0 ATS at home and they have won those games by an average of 28.7 points per game. Tua Tagovailoa has a 132.3 passer rating at home, too. That’s a lot of points to lay on the Pats, but Miami has won the last three home meetings by 10.7 ppg. Trust it. “

Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: Dolphins 27, Patriots 20. “Without Tyreek Hill, the Patriots should be able to keep it close.” 

Chris Simms, Pro Football Talk: Dolphins 24, Patriots 20. 

It says here: Dolphins 31, Patriots 24. Last week showed something real for the team that leads the NFL in moral victories. Add another one to the list (that would be three, by my count). 

Originally posted 2023-10-27 13:25:38.


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