NFL Week 1: New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins Mon. Sept. 12, 2011 7 p.m. EST

Coming into this NFL regular season, the New England Patriots will try to get back on track as one of the best in the league, but they might have their work cut out for them once again within the AFC East division. During the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era in New England, the Patriots haven’t had much trouble dominating the competition in the AFC East and cruising into the playoffs, but with the way the New York Jets have turned things around the competition has become that much tougher.

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New England Patriots logo

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Even though the New England Patriots will be waiting for a chance to get back at the New York Jets for knocking out of the playoffs this year, Tom Brady and company will have to contend with another division rival right out of the gate in the form of the Miami Dolphins.

Since the retirement of legendary quarterback Dan Marino all those years ago, the Miami Dolphins haven’t been able to find a viable replacement or a different game plan that works. Over the past couple of seasons, the Dolphins have found some success in the running game by using a unique form of offense in the Wildcat, but now that Ricky Williams (Baltimore Ravens) and Ronnie Brown (Philadelphia Eagles) have left town via free agency things will be changing in South Beach.

Fortunately, despite losing two Pro Bowlers at the running back position, the Dolphins were able to bring in Reggie Bush and Larry Johnson to fill the void in the backfield. Along with these two proven veterans, the Dolphins were also able to draft a promising young running back in Daniel Thomas. With that being said, the Miami NFL franchise might have improved over the offseason and could be a force to be reckoned with this year.

The Dolphin logo 1997-current.

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Even though changes really didn’t need to be made in New England, the Patriots also rolled the dice a bit to improve their team on both sides of the football by acquiring wide receiver Chad Ochocinco from the Cincinnati Bengals and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth via trade. These two Pro Bowlers can become nothing more than unneeded baggage for Bill Belichick during the NFL regular season, but if he can get them motivated the Patriots could quickly become the best team in football once again and a scary sight for an opposing team.

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As of right now, the New England Patriots are favored to come out on top in this AFC East division showdown with a -6.5 point spread. This spread is probably the best spread for Week 1 and the closest thing to a lock. The Patriots will be just too good on offense on Monday night with the Dolphins trying to catch up all night long.

The Miami Dolphins defense has been much improved and might be able to turn some heads this season, but they really don’t stand much of a change against the New England Patriots offense.

Take the Patriots at -6.5.

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