Experts share their picks for the Patriots Week 1 matchup against the Miami Dolphins.
Mike Reiss, ESPN:
Pick: Patriots 24, Dolphins 17
Judon and other members of the Patriots' D have remarked how they want to lighten the load for Jones by doing their part. "Mac has a lot on his plate right now," Judon said.
Pick: Dolphins 20, Patriots 16
Bold prediction: The Dolphins' defense led the league in turnovers forced last season and will rudely welcome Jones to the NFL this year, holding him under 220 passing yards with a pair of interceptions. On the other side of the ball, rookie receiver Jaylen Waddle will record 75 total yards and his first career touchdown.
Emmanuel Acho, ESPN: Patriots
Matt Bowen, ESPN: Patriots
Mike Clay, ESPN: Patriots
Dominique Foxworth, ESPN: Dolphins
Rob Ninkovich, ESPN: Patriots
Laura Rutledge, ESPN: Patriots
Kevin Seifert, ESPN: Patriots
Seth Wickersham, ESPN: Patriots
Damien Woody, ESPN: Patriots
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com
Pick: Patriots 24, Dolphins 20
It's easy to forget the Dolphins won six of the nine games Tua Tagovailoa started last year, including a 22-12 win over the Patriots in Week 15. I believe both rosters are considerably stronger than they were back then. Miami's offense should be more explosive, and Tua looks more comfortable. New England's defense is set to rebound, and Mac Jones can balance the team's offense. The Patriots get the Week 1 nod because they're at home and they are more likely to protect their young quarterback.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports:
Pick: Patriots 23, Dolphins 17
This highlight of this game will be the two quarterbacks, Miami's Tua Tagovailoa against New England's Mac Jones, who will be making his first start as a rookie. The Dolphins and Brian Flores will throw a ton of looks at Jones, who saw a lot of vanilla stuff in the preseason. But it will be a challenge for Tagovailoa as well. This is a tough opener for Miami against an improved New England team. Jones will win his first start.
Jason La Canfora, CBS Sports: Patriots
Will Brinson, CBS Sports: Patriots
Dave Richard, CBS Sports: Patriots
Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports: Patriots
John Breech, CBS Sports: Patriots
Jamey Eisenberg, CBS Sports: Patriots
Jared Dubin, CBS Sports: Patriots
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk:
Pick: Patriots 20, Dolphins 17
In a battle of former Alabama quarterbacks, the one who plays for Nick Saban's old friend overcomes the one who plays for Nick Saban's old team.
Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk:
Pick: Patriots 27, Dolphins 23
I'm looking forward to the Mac Jones –Tua Tagovailoa quarterback matchup, one in which I see Jones coming out on top.
Paul Perillo, Patriots.com:
Pick: Patriots 23, Dolphins 17
Mac Jones era off to a great start but it's the defense's ability to create turnovers that proves to be the difference.
Mike Dussault, Patriots.com:
Pick: Patriots 17, Dolphins 16
The Patriots and Dolphins are two closely matched teams that know each other well, resulting in a low-scoring game where turnovers and red zone stops matter most. The Patriots get a game-winning field goal at the end of the game to pull out a one-point win.
Erik Scalavino, Patriots.com:
Pick: Dolphins 23, Patriots 20
There's A LOT of understandable excitement about Mac Jones' regular-season debut and his upcoming rookie season in general. He embodies a new era in Patriots history and everyone seems eager to watch how it will unfold with him under center. But there remain plenty of unknowns about how these new-look Patriots will coalesce as a team, on both sides of the ball. The Dolphins have already gone through some of their growing pains with a new quarterback and finished ahead of New England in the standings last season. They're already a year ahead of the Patriots in terms of their rebuilding process, so, for Week 1, I'm going with the more proven commodity. Jones and Co. will keep it close, though.