Let’s get right into the article, shall we?
All this happened, Moore or less: Jay Cutler’s concussion means that Miami backup Matt Moore will be helming the Dolphins offense. While Moore is not by any means a franchise option, he has put up capable statistics against New England in recent years, although the Patriots have won each time. The secondary will have to prepare for a more familiar, less interception-friendly offense centered around the receiving trio of Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, and DeVante Parker. While the defense has cut down on points allowed, they are still giving up plenty of yards, so Sunday’s match-up could be a bit of a test for them.
Though my sprint is more a Waddle: As pointed out by PatsPulpit’s Rich Hill, Patriots backup right tackle LaAdrian Waddle has had to protect Tom Brady from top-tier pass rushers J.J. Watt, Joey Bosa, Von Miller, and Khalil Mack thus far through the 2017 season, and now gets to face Cameron Wake, still a dominant defensive end in his ninth season. Waddle has often received help on his snaps but has excellently held his own and kept Brady upright. He and the rest of the offensive line will have to continue to put forth strong performances to keep the offense flowing.
Contain excitement: Part of the reasoning for the roster swap of Eric Lee for Cassius Marsh was Marsh’s repeated inability to contain running backs. The Patriots’ defense, lacking strong pass rush, relies on solid run containment from their defensive ends to force opposing offenses to become one-dimensional, and the 260-pound Lee will hopefully be able to remedy some of the lack of containment which has been seen this season. Of course, the first-week Patriot Lee may not be active at all, in which case it may be up to linebackers (Kyle Van Noy, Trevor Reilly) and defensive tackles (Adam Butler) playing on the edge to keep any Miami running attack from developing.
Time for the BSJ TUMS-O-METER prediction for this week’s game. Considerations: 1) The Pats will be without two starting offensive linemen (Marcus Cannon and David Andrews) while Chris Hogan remains out. 2) Teams that are 8-2 (PIT) or 7-3 (JAX) both have winnable games as do TEN and KC (both 6-4), thus there is a bit of pressure to stay ahead of the curve for playoff positioning. 3) On the other hand, MIA is a hot mess right now, though with Moore starting at QB they could be a little bit more of a challenge. Nonetheless, this should be only a 1 bottle TUMS game, 1 1/2 at best.