NFL Predictions: Miami Dolphins Will Upset the New England Patriots

John SzurlejAnalyst ISeptember 9, 2011

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 19:  Chad Henne #7 of the Miami Dolphins looks to hand off th Reggie Bush #22 during a Preseason NFL game against the Carolina Panthers at Sun Life Stadium on August 19, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins take on the New England Patriots on Monday night in a David versus Goliath match-up where everyone is expecting the Patriots to steamroll the Dolphins in epic fashion.

The New England Patriots are undoubtedly the favorite going into this match-up and expected to win by at least two touchdowns.

The Miami Dolphins disagree and plan on doing their best to change the minds of NFL fans all over the world when they attempt to start their season with a huge win.

The Patriots have been one of the elite teams for some time now and continue to demand credibility from all NFL teams when they play. However, the Patriots do have a vulnerable side to them and here is how the Miami Dolphins can exploit it.

Miami Linebackers

Linebackers Cameron Wake and Kevin Burnett will be the two primary factors in a Miami victory as they will need to prevent New England's Benjarvis Green-Ellis from rounding the corners and taking the ball up the middle for big gains.

If this tandem can captain a unit that can keep BJE to around three yards per carry, the Patriots primary rushing attack can be kept from doing considerable damage.

The second key component for the corps is to effectively blitz Tom Brady in key situations without leaving the short middle vulnerable to those famous Wes Welker crossing routes and slants.

MIAMI - OCTOBER 4: Cameron Wake #91 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates after a play against the New England Patriots at Sun Life Field on October 4, 2010 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The key is primarily on getting to Brady, as when he is forced out of his comfort zone and hurried, he becomes less of a threat as he's not the most mobile of quarterbacks.

The Dolphins have said they would be more conservative against Brady but expect them to gamble a bit, especially when the Patriots are closer to their own end zone.

Dolphins Secondary

The Dolphins have one of the best young sets of cornerbacks in the league in the talents of Sean Smith and Vonte Davis.

If the Dolphins are going to be successful they need to establish themselves early, as they are sure to be tested by two of the better receivers in the NFL.

I expect them to be able to cover well against Walker and Ochocinco, especially since Ochocinco and Brady are still trying to get on the same page.  If they can frustrate Ochocinco they can take him out of the game for a while.

When the Patriots look to the tight ends for help over the middle, look for safety Yeremiah Bell to be ready for them.  His 101 tackles last season led the team's defensive backs and he should pick up where he left off.

For a Dolphins victory, the secondary must basically give Brady only one wide receiver to work with. If they don't, Brady will pick them apart.

MIAMI - NOVEMBER 18:  Receiver Earl Bennett #80 of the Chicago Bears misses the catch as cornerback Vonte Davis #21 of the Miami Dolphins defends at Sun Life Stadium on November 18, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Chad Henne

With any quarterback you expect him to make smart decisions and not make risky throws and it will be no different for Chad Henne.

Through his career the Dolphins quarterback has been able to post over 300 yard against the Patriots two times in four contests.

Henne has the ability to be effective and should find available targets in the passing game against the Patriots defense if his offensive line can withstand the pressure of the Patriots defensive line.

Look for recently added Dante Rosario to play a role in this game as he is a good blocking tight end and should be on the line as the Dolphins may give the Patriots a two tight end look.

Rosario is also capable of receiving and may factor into this game as a target for Henne when he relieves Fasano.

Chad Henne is no Tom Brady, but he can still throw the ball effectively.

Wide Receivers / Running Backs

While the Patriots main concern will be about Brandon Marshall, the other defensive backs should also remember that Davone Bess is historically effective against the Patriots.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 12: Anthony Fasano #80 of the Miami Dolphins pulls in a pass against the New York Jets at New Meadowlands Stadium on December 12, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Bess should be the unsung hero in this game as he should be able to make plays and give Henne that other target downfield when Marshall is double covered or has the safety shadowing to his side.

The "X factor" in this game is the effective use of Reggie Bush.

I don't expect Bush to be a threat to the Patriots front line between the tackles so look for a lot of misdirections and pitch outs for Bush to do what he does best.

Bush will also be a factor in catching the ball out of the backfield and in screen passes, as he can be a game changer if utilized effectively, as he poses a problem for the Patriots' linebackers.

Overall, the Dolphins are a team that can beat the Patriots, but first they must not beat themselves.

The Dolphins must take advantage of good field position when they have the opportunity and prevent the Patriots from opening up too much of a lead.  if they play from behind by more than ten points, then this whole game changes.

The Dolphins must also find a way to manage the clock effectively and make long drives that consume the clock to keep the ball from the dangerous Patriots offense.

The Dolphins have the tools to shock the NFL with an opening day victory and if they play smart i can see them pulling this off.

Call me crazy, but I am predicting a Dolphins win.

Dolphins  24  -  Patriots  21


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