FOXBORO — Week 2 could be barely early to declare a sport a “must-win,” however the Patriots’ outlook will seem a lot better if they will beat the Dolphins on Sunday evening.
The Patriots misplaced a detailed one to the Eagles that could be categorized otherwise if “moral victories” counted within the standings. But that efficiency final week means nothing if the Patriots can’t enhance upon it because the season progresses.
Stringing wins collectively in opposition to the Dolphins in Week 2 and the Jets with out Aaron Rodgers in Week 3 would make followers overlook a couple of irritating Week 1 end result.
These 4 gamers want to return by Sunday for the Patriots.
QB Mac Jones
Yes, we picked Mac Jones final week, as effectively. No, he gained’t be on right here each week.
As we wrote earlier this week, Jones lacks a real signature win as a member of the Patriots. He has only one game-winning drive and fourth-quarter comeback to his identify. He’s 2-12 in his profession as an underdog.
And guess what? The Patriots are underdogs at house for the second straight week.
A win over the Dolphins with a formidable efficiency would qualify as a signature win for Jones. And if he has a chance to win the sport late — like he did in Week 1 in opposition to the Eagles — then he should end.
Jones can have a banged-up offensive line for the second straight week. We’ll discover out 90 minutes earlier than the sport simply how depleted that unit can be and if large receiver DeVante Parker can swimsuit up. The QB can have loads of excuses if the Patriots don’t win once more.
The Dolphins’ protection, run by Vic Fangio, fairly frankly underperformed final week in opposition to the Chargers. They ranked useless final in anticipated factors added (EPA) per play in opposition to the run. They had been twenty fourth in EPA per play in opposition to the cross and thirtieth total in EPA per play in opposition to.
The Chargers proved that regardless of Miami’s offseason additions in personnel and training groups can transfer the ball on them. Jones has to grab the chance.
OT Calvin Anderson
Anderson is the one offensive lineman resembling a starter who wasn’t on the harm report this week. Left sort out Trent Brown is in concussion protocol, left guard Cole Strange missed Week 1 with a knee harm, proper guard Mike Onwenu missed Week 1 with an ankle harm, and David Andrews was faraway from the harm report however was coping with a hamstring ailment earlier within the week. Plus, Riley Reiff is on injured reserve.
Brown, Strange, Onwenu and rookie Sidy Sow (concussion) are questionable to play Sunday.
Anderson spent practically all summer time on the non-football sickness listing however nonetheless performed all 80 offensive snaps in Week 1 — a mighty spectacular feat.
“I definitely made sure to let him know how much I appreciated his effort Sunday, because that’s tough,” Andrews stated this week. “Obviously he’s a veteran player, but it’s really hard missing a training camp. You need a training camp. And a new system. So I really appreciated his effort. I think it says a lot (about) his work ethic to get back out there and go wire-to-wire like he did Sunday for us.”
Anderson let up one QB hit and 4 hurries in opposition to the Eagles. Whether he strikes to left sort out or stays at proper sort out, he ought to play slightly bit higher Sunday evening. The Dolphins don’t fairly have the Eagles’ ferocious cross rush, however Bradley Chubb, Jaelan Phillips, Christian Wilkins and Emmanuel Ogbah aren’t any slouches.
CB Christian Gonzalez
The Patriots received some fairly devastating harm timing when cornerback Jonathan Jones popped up on the harm report Thursday with an ankle ailment after which missed follow Friday. He’s formally questionable to play Week 2. With Jack Jones on injured reserve, the Patriots may very well be all the way down to Gonzalez, Myles Bryant, Jon Jones, Shaun Wade and Ameer Speed at cornerback. Safety Jalen Mills additionally may transfer again over to cornerback in a pinch.
But now Gonzalez, in simply his second NFL sport, takes on higher significance within the protection. It’s unclear how the Patriots will match up with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle if Jonathan Jones can’t play. They may double Hill with Bryant or Marcus Jones and let Gonzalez deal with Waddle. Or they might put Gonzalez (with some assist) on Hill and let Marcus Jones or Bryant cowl Waddle.
There’s no greatest reply. But the Patriots like to combine their coverages, transfer gamers round and bracket among the NFL’s greatest large receivers when the state of affairs requires it.
Hill has averaged over 100 yards per sport since becoming a member of the Dolphins, who’re adept at giving him a head begin with wheel movement performs that permit him to start out operating earlier than the snap.
“I didn’t think the Chargers gave enough attention to him all game,” retired Patriots security Devin McCourty stated about Hill’s Week 1 matchup when he had 11 catches for 205 yards with two touchdowns. “And they treated him like he was just another guy. He showed them why he’s not. I highly doubt New England goes out there and does that Sunday night.”
Jonathan Jones stated earlier this week that cornerbacks should be bodily with Hill and Jaylen Waddle. This can be a large check for Gonzalez, who handed his first examination Week 1 in opposition to Eagles receivers A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith.
DT Christian Barmore
Head coach Mike McDaniel and the Dolphins worth operating the ball, and the Dolphins have pretty stable inside blockers in heart Connor Williams, proper guard Robert Hunt and outdated good friend Isaiah Wynn at left guard.
Barmore had an excellent sport in Week 1, grading out as PFF’s fourth-best run-stuff inside defender. He ranked tenth with 4 pass-rush pressures.
Week 1 served as one thing of a altering of the guard at defensive sort out with Barmore beginning over and receiving extra snaps than Lawrence Guy. He’s one of many highest-upside defenders the Patriots have. If he can take his much-anticipated bounce as a third-year professional, then be careful.