The NFL is back for week 2 of the 2023 season as the New England Patriots play host to the Miami Dolphins, looking to earn their first victory of the campaign.
The Patriots had a rough season in 2022 as they failed to make it to the playoffs, while the Dolphins crashed out at the Wild Card stage of the post-season when they fell to a 31-34 defeat against Buffalo Bills.
Both teams will look to be in the win column after week 2, and we’ll break down the match up between the two sides while trying to earn you some extra cash with our best free NFL betting picks.
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Miami had a mixed bag of preparations for the 2023 NFL season. They suffered a dominant 19-3 defeat in their opening pre-season game against the Atlanta Falcons, before bouncing back in game 2 with a 28-3 win over the Houston Texans.
Game 3 saw defeat once again in a high-scoring game against the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-18, but they showed their offensive qualities in the opening game of the new season when they beat the Los Angeles Chargers 36-34 in week 1 last time out.
It was a super-even game throughout with the first quarter and third quarter tied at 7-7 each, but the Dolphins outscored LA 13-10 in the second quarter to get a big enough lead and claim the victory when all was said and done.
After a poor season last year that saw New England fail to even make it to the playoffs, the Patriots have had a rough pre-season in preparation for this game against the Eagles.
They opened their season preparations with a home game against the Houston Texans and despite a decent start that saw them end the first-quarter 3-0 up, they failed to score another point until the fourth-quarter while conceding 13 points in the process en route to a 20-9 defeat.
That was followed up with a clash against the Green Bay Packers where the offense greatly improved with seven points in each of the first three quarters, while they also managed a complete shut-out in the second half to claim an impressive 21-17 win.
Their last game ended with a stunning 23-7 loss to the Tennessee Titans due to a fourth-quarter collapse that saw them drop ten points without a response. They then suffered defeat in the opening game of the NFL 2023 season, losing 25-20 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The key matchup should be Miami’s defense against the New England offense, because the Dolphins should put up points against a Patriots defense that is way below par right now.
The likelihood is that the Dolphis defensive unit will feel they have a point to prove after Austin Ekeler ran all over it in the opening game, with Miami’s offense the sole reason they claimed victory against the Chargers.
It was a tale of two halves for Mac Jones and the Patriots. Jones threw a killer pick-6, Ezekiel Elliott lost a fumble, but then it all turned around with Jones throwing for 316 yards and three scores. It showed both the good and bad sides of the offense they have this season.
If the Pats can clean up their start, they have to think they can win Sunday night. But realistically what chance do they have of stopping Tua and the Fins? The Chargers have a great defense, and Miami put up 536 yards of offense.
Can the Fins stop New England’s run game? The Pats were playing from behind most of the game and couldn’t commit to more than 22 runs for 76 yards. The Chargers put up 234 rushing yards against Miami’s defense Sunday.
At the end of the day the Dolphins offense looks too dominant and well-rounded, and this is a arguably the toughest stretch of the schedule for the Pats to navigate. They might be fine, but I can’t see the Fins leaving with a loss after the way they played in Week 1. Backing them to win by one score at -110 is great value.
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Bill Belichick is a skilled tactician and arguably one of the best ever when it comes to shutting down an opposing offense’s strength. But can he do so with an offense as diverse and versatile as Miami’s?
If he seeks to slow Hill, Jaylen Waddle will be open. If those two are covered, there’s slot receiver Braxton Berrios, or Miami can run it with Raheem Mostert.
I think Miami’s defense will play better, but it will allow points too. It’s likely to be a fairly even game for both teams until the latter stages, where the Dolphins should be able to pull away and open up a game to claim this bet as a winner.
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