The 2021 season of the Miami Dolphins starts this Sunday when they visit the Gillete Stadium to face the New England Patriots at 2:25 p.m. ET. The crown of the AFC East It seems that this year it will belong to the Buffalo Bills, but the Fins and Pats will be looking for a place among the wild cards and what better than to beat a divisional rival.
Now, there are five players who could make a difference in the 109th regular-season game in the rich history between Miami and New England.
Mac Jones and Tua Tagovailoa
The main story for the development of the game is the confrontation between the quarterbacks Mac Jones and Tua Tagovailoa. Both players were the last starting QBs of the program of Nick Saban In the Univertisty of Alabama.
For three years, Jones played 30 games for Alabama in which accumulated 6,126 yards with 56 touchdowns and seven interceptions and in the preseason he did things well.
For its part, Tagovailoa He also spent three years in college, but played 32 games for the Crimson Tide. In that time set several school records and recorded 87 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with 7,442 yards.
J.C Jackson y Xavien Howard
Forced, if young quarterbacks are forced to throw too much, perimeter defenses will be important in the game between rivals in the league. AFC East.
The case of Tagovailoa is complicated because on the one hand it will have to face J.C Jackson, with nine interceptions and 14 deflected passes last season, and in the other he will have Stephon Gilmore, who allowed 28 receptions for 326 yards in 2020.
Xavien Howard, back to the Dolphins, led the league last year in interceptions with 10 and in passes defended with 20, allowing him to renegotiate his contract during the preseason. So it would be understandable for Jones not to pitch in his direction no matter which catcher is near Howard.
The Patriots spent in an unusual way, and contrary to the tradition of Bill Belichick, in the last free agency with the hires of the tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Of them, the starter for Sunday will be Smith, former player of the Tennessee Titans
After four years in Tennessee, Smith seeks to establish himself as one of the best players in his position after accumulating just 1,302 yards and 16 touchdowns in an offensive that prioritized the ground attack.