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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections |  Projections by Team | Game Predictions Summary

NO at GB (thu) CIN at CLE * MIN at SD * SEA at SF
* ATL at CHI * DAL at NYJ * NYG at WAS TEN at JAC
* BUF at KC DET at TB PHI at STL * NE at MIA (mon)
*updated CAR at ARI * IND at HOU PIT at BAL OAK at DEN (mon)

Prediction: NE 30, MIA 17

Players to Watch: NE backfield, Chad Ochocinco and Daniel Thomas

Update: Daniel Thomas has been held out because of his hamstring but on Friday was able to do some limited work. There is a chance that the Fins may sit him in the Monday night game so consider him too risky to use for a fantasy start.

This game was never close last year and with new coordinators in Miami, there is no reason to expect that to really change. The Patriots swept the Dolphins last season, winning 41-14 in Miami and later 38-7 at home. Nothing like beating up a divisional rival.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @MIA - 10 @NYJ -
2 SD - 11 KC -
3 @BUF - 12 @PHI -
4 @OAK - 13 IND -
5 NYJ - 14 @WAS -
6 DAL - 15 @DEN -
7 Bye - 16 MIA -
8 @PIT - 17 BUF -
9 NYG - - - -
Patriots Report | Statistics | Roster
NEW ENGLAND at MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady - - 230,2
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis 80,1 10 -
RB Danny Woodhead 20 20 -
TE Aaron Hernandez - 40 -
TE Rob Gronkowski - 20,1 -
WR Chad Ochocinco - 60 -
WR Deion Branch - 30 -
WR Wes Welker - 80,1 -
PK Rob Gostkowski 3 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Patriots used the offseason to load up on rookie running backs and veterans like Chad Ochocinco. On paper this bunch should be just as good as any Pats team we've seen in the last decade and in reality - they could be even better. The schedule is no friend to the Pats this year but then again - that rarely matters much here.

QUARTERBACK: Tom Brady was down to only 3900 passing yards last year but he also had 36 touchdowns for his second best career mark. The Patriots have loaded up on running backs which suggests more rushing and scores on the ground but the Patriots have never been shy about running up a score in the past.

Brady only passed for 153 yards and one score in Miami last year and later only managed 199 yards and two scores in the home meeting.

RUNNING BACKS: What a beautiful mess. The Patriots used six different backs last year and may hit that mark again. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was a sleeper last year when he ended with 1008 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns while Danny Woodhead also was plucked from obscurity and came up with 926 total yards and six scores. To make it even more of a challenge, the Patriots drafted Shane Vereen (2.24) as the third back taken in April and then doubled down with Stevan Ridley (3.09) who was a star in preseason games. It all adds up to a horrific mess to unwind and predict. Just as it has always supposed to be.

Green-Ellis led the Pats rushers with 96 yards and one score in Miami.

Week one assumption is more of 2010 with Green-Ellis and Woodhead but any use of the rookies will be very notable if only to signal hands off the weekly guessing game.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Wes Welker is another year removed from his knee injury and remains the slot guy that no one can cover. The big addition here is Chad Ochocinco in the "Randy Moss" role of an aging elite receiver looking to wind down a career with a bang thanks to Tom Brady. Ochocinco has been very subdued and quiet, perhaps knowing this is the last stop in a sterling career that could be better than anything he ever had in Cincy even though he led the league in receiving yards for two seasons. Deion Branch has not caught a pass in a preseason game and is clearly the odd man out.

Welker turned in eight receptions for 80 yards against his old team last year.

TIGHT ENDS: Neither tight end mattered in the Miami game last year but both Rob Gronkowski and Alge Crumpler scored in the home meeting with the Fins. Gronkowski had six catches for 102 yards in that matchup. Once again it will be a never ending guessing game on which tight end is the better bet in any given week. Aaron Hernandez has been better with yardage and Gronkowski is the scoring guy.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 8 6 14 1 6 1
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 10 9 8 18 19 25

Miami Dolphins
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 NE - 10 WAS -
2 HOU - 11 BUF -
3 @CLE - 12 @DAL -
4 @SD - 13 OAK -
5 Bye - 14 PHI -
6 @NYJ - 15 @BUF -
7 DEN - 16 @NE -
8 @NYG - 17 NYJ -
9 @KC -      
Dolphins Report | Statistics | Roster
MIAMI vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Henne - - 250,2
RB Reggie Bush 50 40 -
RB Daniel Thomas 30 - -
TE Anthony Fasano - 30 -
WR Brandon Marshall - 90,1 -
WR Brian Hartline - 30 -
WR Davone Bess - 60,1 -
PK Dan Carpenter 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Fins invested in new offensive and defensive coordinators but the lockout did them no benefit waiting until August to get to work. After much conjecture about Kyle Orton coming to town the passing game is back to the exact same players as last year. What has changed is that Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are gone and the rushing attack has never looked more explosive or injury prone. That could be a problem.

QUARTERBACK: The overtures made to Kyle Orton were for naught and so Chad Henne continues to be the starter with more potential than production. Henne passed for 3301 yards and 15 scores last year but that came with three games below 125 pass yards and yet he had three games over 300 yards. Consistency is an obvious problem but returning the same set of receivers should help.

Henne passed for 305 yards and two scores when the Pats visited last year.

RUNNING BACKS: Reggie Bush has looked sharp in camp and preseason games this season but he has not played a full 16 games since his rookie season and has not ever had more than 157 carries in any year. That makes him an obvious risk in Miami where they had drafted Daniel Thomas to be the main runner and allow Bush to be the third down, change of pace guy he has always been. But Thomas has been very slow learning the offense and blocking duties as well as just being a tentative runner so far.

Thomas could take a big role on this team but only if he earns it. This week starts his golden opportunity that hopefully comes to fruition before Bush is injured in a few weeks.

The Fins rushed for 83 yards and no scores against the Pats last season but had eight catches for 29 yards and a touchdown on passes to running backs.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Brandon Marshall only turned in 86 catches for 1014 yards and three scores in his first season with the Fins but admitted he played with a bad hip for most of the year. He had three straight 100+ catch seasons in Denver. Marshall has made an effort this summer to be a better team mate and communicate more with the quarterback. He also had been getting treatment on a personality disorder that should pay dividends as well. This should be a good year for Marshall - all the pieces are in place. Davone Bess is the #2 again this year with Brian Hartline manning the slot. Bess (79-820, 5 TD) had a nice season and has become a borderline fantasy start himself.

Marshall caught five passes for 50 yards on the Pats last year. He later had 97 yards on five receptions in New England.

TIGHT ENDS: Anthony Fasano offers only marginal fantasy relevance with 528 yards and four scores last year. Unfortunately he is very inconsistent with a few big games and others with either one or no catches. Fasano had an uncharacteristically good game of five catches for 67 yards on the Pats last year though he had no catches in the second meeting.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 26 25 17 26 13 29
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 29 20 29 8 5 1

NO at GB (thu) CIN at CLE MIN at SD SEA at SF
BUF at KC DET at TB PHI at STL NE at MIA (mon)
  CAR at ARI IND at HOU PIT at BAL OAK at DEN (mon)

a d v e r t i s e m e n t