The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins will square off on opening day for the 11th time in team history and for the third straight season after the 17-16 season-opening loss vs. Miami on Sept. 12, 2021. The Patriots will open the season at Miami for the first time since the 2014 season. The Patriots and Dolphins will meet for the second time in the regular season at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 1. Last season, Miami swept the season series for the first time since 2000.
The last time the Patriots opened the season against the same opponent for three straight years was 1981, 1982 and 1983 against the Baltimore Colts.
THIRD MOST KICKOFF WINS ACROSS THE AFC
The New England Patriots rank third across the AFC conference for the most kickoff weekend wins.
- The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins will square off for the first of two scheduled meetings and on opening day for the 11th time in team history. It is the third straight season the two teams have battled in Week 1. The Patriots will open the season at Miami for the first time since the 2014 season. The Patriots and Dolphins will meet for the second time in the regular season at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 1. Last season, Miami swept the season series for the first time since 2000.
- The Patriots have had the upper hand at home against Miami, holding a 36-19 record in games played in New England in the regular season, including a 16-4 record at Gillette Stadium. But the Patriots are 17-40 all-time in Miami, including two postseason contests. Miami beat New England at Gillette Stadium for the first time in the final game of the 2005 season.
- The Dolphins and Patriots met for the first time in 1966 and began playing twice a year during the 1967 regular season, except in 1982 during a players' strike.
- The two have played three times in the postseason with New England holding a 2-1 advantage.
MIAMI 59, NEW ENGLAND 54
(Including New England 2, Miami 1 in Playoffs)
Record in New England: 37-19 (Incl. 1-0 in playoffs)
- Record in Foxborough: 35-17 (1-0)
- Record in Boston: 2-2
Record in Miami: 17-40 (Incl. 1-1 in playoffs)
- Record at Dolphins / Hard Rock: 13-22
- Record at Orange Bowl 3-18: (1-1)
Record in Tampa*: 1-0
Season Sweeps: Patriots 10, Dolphins 14
Season Splits: 30 (Most recent 2020)
Bill Belichick vs. Miami: 26-20 (26-18 with New England)
*A Miami home game was played in Tampa in 1969.
- Since Bill Belichick became Patriots head coach in 2000, New England is 26-18 (.591) against Miami.
- Since 2000, the Patriots are 99-37 (.728) against AFC East opponents. New England is 26-18 against the Dolphins over that span, 34-10 against the New York Jets and 36-8 against the Buffalo Bills. The Patriots were 3-1 against Indianapolis from 2000 through 2001 when they were in the AFC East.
SCOUTING THE MATCHUPS
By Paul Perillo
When the Patriots run - Edge: Patriots
Despite a very rocky preseason the Patriots have the ability to move the ball on the ground, and that's the strength of the offense. Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris both have the tools to be productive between the tackles, and the Dolphins defense was just average (110 yards per game, 14th) stopping the run in 2021. The problems for New England during the preseason started up front where the new offensive line struggled transitioning to some of the outside zone blocking schemes that are being implemented. With very few exceptions those plays were disasters during the preseason, but Bill Belichick won't stubbornly stick with plays that weren't productive and it wouldn't be a surprise to see Stevenson and Harris employed on some of the gap runs we've seen produce plenty in the recent past. The Dolphins front is solid with Christian Wilkins, Raekwon Davis and Emmanuel Ogbah protecting linebackers Jerome Baker and Elandon Roberts so it won't be easy, but the Patriots should find ways to be more productive on the ground in the opener.
When the Patriots pass - Edge: Dolphins
The 2021 Dolphins were also just average defending the pass, finishing 16th in the league and allowing almost 228 yards per game. But a closer look shows a secondary that finished ninth overall by allowing only 6.4 yards per pass. Miami also was able to create pressure on the passer, finishing seventh in sacks per pass attempt. Those numbers will present problems for a Patriots attack that struggled to both push the ball downfield and protect the passer throughout the summer. Mac Jones hasn't looked comfortable since the start of training camp and that's mostly been due to some shoddy protection. The offensive line, which now features Trent Brown at left tackle and Isaiah Wynn on the right side, hasn't been stout in camp or during the preseason games. Wynn is also dealing with an injury that has cost him some time this summer. Jones does have some options to work with in the passing game, including newcomer DeVante Parker. The former Dolphin gives Jones a target with a bigger catch radius, and Miami will be without No. 2 corner Byron Jones, who starts the season on PUP. The Dolphins still have Xavien Howard, one of the top corners in football, so life won't be easy. The key will be protection, and the Dolphins have been able to generate plenty against the Patriots in the recent past, especially in Miami.
When the Dolphins run - Edge: Dolphins
Miami was dreadful running the ball in 2021, that is except for against the Patriots. In their Wek 18 clash in Miami, the Dolphins racked up nearly 200 yards on the ground against a suspect run defense for New England. First-year coach Mike McDaniel wants to run the ball with newcomers Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert, using the same approach that the Patriots are trying to incorporate with outside zone looks. Both possess plenty of speed and can stress the edges of the defense, and even though the Patriots appeared to be improved during the preseason from their shaky play in run defense from a year ago, this will be a tough test. The Dolphins have also improved their offensive line, adding left tackle Terron Armstead and center Connor Williams via free agency. McDaniel wants to be balanced and he'll likely give his backs plenty of chances to get going, and given the speed the Dolphins possess in the passing game it won't be easy to add extra bodies in the box to slow things down.
When the Dolphins pass - Edge: Dolphins
Much has been written about the improvements Miami has made in the offseason, and most of those have centered around the arrival of Tyreek Hill. Miami also added Cedrick Wilson, a talented third receiver to add to Jaylen Waddle, who is coming off a fantastic rookie season in which he caught 104 balls. The Dolphins also have a couple of solid tight ends in Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe. So, the pieces are in place for Miami to have an explosive offense with McDaniel coming from San Francisco and installing the same Mike Shanahan offense that the Patriots are having trouble establishing. But all of those potential improvements will be contingent upon the play of third-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who has struggled to stay healthy and to get the ball downfield consistently. He's been effective against the Patriots, however, as his 3-0 career mark suggests. In general the Dolphins haven't asked him to do too much, but he's been accurate, especially on slant routes, and has avoided mistakes for the most part. If he does so in the opener Miami should have success through the air given his bevy of weapons to choose from.
Special Teams - Edge: Patriots
Both teams are solid in the kicking game with Miami's Jason Sanders (kicker) and Thomas Morstead (punter) matching New England's Nick Folk and Jake Bailey. All are proven veterans who have enjoyed success in the league. Sanders missed eight of 31 field goals a year ago but four of those came from beyond 50 yards. He also was 34 of 35 on PATs. Folk enjoyed another spectacular season in Foxborough, making 36 of 39 field goals at age 36. Neither side generated much in the return game and with warm and humid conditions expected the kick return game doesn't figure to have an impact with touchbacks to be expected. The Patriots are trying to find an option at punt returner with Myles Bryant and rookie Marcus Jones getting some opportunities in the summer. Hill or Waddle will likely handle those duties for the Dolphins so the Patriots overage units will need to be sharp. After a season that saw the Patriots struggle badly on special teams, Bill Belichick added some youth to the mix with Brenden Schooler and DaMarcus Mitchell and both figured prominently throughout the summer. Expect the Patriots to improve greatly in the third phase.
PATRIOTS VS. MIAMI IN SEASON OPENERS
The Patriots will be opening the season against the Miami Dolphins for the 11th time in team history and for the third straight season. The Patriots hosted Miami in the season-opener in 2020 and 2021 and will play at Miami to start the 2022 season. It will mark the first time since 2016 that the Patriots will open the season on the road and the first time opening the season at Miami since the 2014 season. The last time the Patriots opened the season against the same opponent for three straight years was 1981, 1982 and 1983 against the Baltimore Colts.
The Patriots, who are 54-59 all-time against Miami, are 5-5 against the Dolphins when meeting in the season-opener. The Patriots are 1-3 when opening the year at Miami. Miami is the most frequent team that the Patriots open with. Buffalo is second with nine opening day meetings.
PATRIOTS VS. AFC EAST IN SEASON OPENERS
The Patriots will be opening the season against an AFC East opponent for the 27th time overall.
PATRIOTS TIED FOR THIRD-MOST OPENING DAY WINS AMONG AFC TEAMS
The New England Patriots have won seven of their past 10 openers on kickoff weekend. The Patriots are tied for the third-most Kickoff Weekend wins among AFC teams.
TALE OF THE TAPE
|2021 REGULAR SEASON||NEW ENGLAND||MIAMI|
|Total Yards Gained||6,008||5,219|
|Total Offense (Rank)||353.4 (15)||307.0 (25)|
|Rush Offense||126.5 (8)||92.2 (30)|
|Pass Offense||226.9 (14)||214.8 (17)|
|Points Per Game||27.2 (6)||20.1 (22)|
|Total Touchdowns Scored||51||39|
|Total Yards Allowed||5,284||5,738|
|Total Defense (Rank)||310.8 (4)||337.5 (15)|
|Rush Defense||123.7 (22)||109.8 (14)|
|Pass Defense||187.1 (2)||227.7(16)|
|Points Allowed/Game||17.8 (2)||21.9 (6)|
|Sacks Allowed/Yards Lost||28/241||48/380|
|Takeaway/Giveaway Ratio||+7 (8t)||0 (16t)|
- Keion Crossen (Patriots: Player DB 2018; Dolphins: Player CB 2022-)
- Trey Flowers (Patriots: Player LB 2015-18; Dolphins:Player LB 2022-)
- Elandon Roberts (Patriots: Player LB 2016-19; Dolphins:Player LB 2020-)
- Eric Rowe (Patriots: Player S 2016-18; Dolphins:Player S 2019-)
- Calvin Munson (Patriots: Player LB 2018-19^, 2021; Dolphins: Player LB 2021-)
- Steve Gregory (Patriots: Player DB 2012-13; Dolphins: Safeties Coach 2021-)
- Chris Grier (Patriots: Regional Scout 1995-99; Dolphins: General Manager 2016-)
- Josh Boyer (Patriots: CB Coach 2012-18, DB Coach 2009-11, Coaching Asst.; Dolphins: Defensive Coord. 2020-, Def. Pass Game Coord./CB 2019)
- Ty McKenzie (Patriots: Player LB 2009-10; Dolphins: Outside LB Coach 2022-)
- Wes Welker (Patriots:Player WR 2007-12 ; Dolphins: WR Coach 2022-)
- Davon Godchaux (Patriots: Player DL 2021-; Dolphins: Player DL 2017-20)
- Raekwon McMillan (Patriots: Player LB 2021-; Dolphins: Player LB 2017-19)
- DeVante Parker (Patriots: Player WR 2022; Dolphins: Player WR 2015-21)
- Billy Yates (Patriots: Asst. OL Coach 2021-; Dolphins: Player OL 2003)
WHAT TO LOOK FOR THIS WEEK
- The team has had nine 300-yard passing games on opening day, 19 100-yard receiving games on opening day and seven 100-yard rushing games on opening day. RB Damien Harris finished with 100 yards rushing on 23 attempts in the 2021 season-opener vs. Miami on Sept. 12, 2021.
- The Patriots have had a rookie make a start on opening day 24 times under Bill Belichick, including five current players – Mac Jones (2021), Mike Onwenu (2020), Ja'Whaun Bentley (2018), David Andrews (2015) and Devin McCourty (2010).
- The Patriots have had a rookie free agent make the 53-man roster for 19 straight seasons, tied with Denver for the longest streak in the NFL. Two rookie free agents made New England's 2022 initial 53-man roster with DL DaMarcus Mitchell and DB Brenden Schooler.
- Bill Belichick enters his 23rd season as head coach of the New England Patriots in 2022 to tie Chuck Noll (23 with Pittsburgh) and Steve Owen (23 with the N.Y. Giants) for the fourth-longest tenure with one team as a head coach.
- QB Mac Jones finished his rookie season in 2021 with 3,801 passing yards and needs 105 passing yards to move past Ed "Butch" Songin (3,905) into 10th place, 120 yards to move past Mike Taliaferro (3,920) and 146 yards to move past Matt Cassel (3,946) into 8th place on New England's all-time passing list.
- RB Damien Harris enters the 2022 season with 17 rushing touchdowns and needs three rushing touchdowns to become the 14th Patriots player to reach 20 career rushing touchdowns and six to move into the Top 10 in team history. Harris is the last Patriots player to have three rushing touchdowns in a single game. He had three vs. Buffalo last season on Dec. 26, 2021.
- WR Jakobi Meyers has scored on three two-point plays and needs one more two-point score to tie Julian Edelman and Gino Cappelletti with four for the most in team history.
- Matthew Slater has played in 206 career games, tied with Julius Adams for the third-most in team history, behind the 285 by Tom Brady and 212 by Bruce Armstrong.
- Slater is entering his 15th NFL season. He will Join Tom Brady (20), Steve Grogan (16), Troy Brown (15) and Julius Adams (15) as the only New England players to play in at least 15 seasons with the team.
- K Nick Folk extended his streak to 55 straight field goals under 50 yards, the second-longest streak in NFL history behind the 56 straight field goals from inside 50 yards by Ryan Succop from 2014-2017 while with Tennessee. Folk's last miss from inside the 50-yard line was a 45-yard field goal attempt in the 2020 season-opener vs. Miami on Sept. 13.
TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Greg Gumbel will handle play-by-play duties with Adam Archuleta as the color analyst. AJ Ross will work from the sidelines. The game will be produced by Jonathan Segal and directed by Mark Grant.
LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 33 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis. The games are produced by Marc Cappello.