Miami Dolphins (3-0) at New England Patriots (1-2)
After a solid week 1 win at home over the Texans, the Patriots have been embarrassed in back-to-back weeks on the road, losing by double digits in Jacksonville and Detroit. Now they return home to face a surprise 3-0 Dolphins team. This line has shrunk to 6.5 as a result, but I think that’s an overreaction that’s created some line value with the Patriots. The Dolphins have not been dominant in any of their 3 wins and have faced a pretty easy schedule, facing the Raiders and Jets, two of the worst teams in the conference, and a banged up Titans team. Ryan Tannehill is playing at a high level in his return from injury, but they have a pretty underwhelming roster overall.
The Patriots, meanwhile, should continue to get the benefit of the doubt, despite a slow start, as we’ve seen them come back from slow starts in the past and make Super Bowls. The Patriots have also been great off of a loss in the Belichick era, going 47-25 ATS after a loss since 2000 (37-19 ATS with Tom Brady). I know they didn’t win last week, despite coming off of a loss, but they’ve actually been even better off two straight losses, going 8-3 ATS in Brady’s career and incredibly not losing 3 straight games since 2002. Perhaps even more incredible is Tom Brady’s career record against teams with better records than his, as he’s 34-12 straight up and 36-10 ATS.
Their offense probably won’t hit its stride until it gets Julian Edelman back, but Josh Gordon could be active this week and their defense would get a big boost in this game if defensive end Trey Flowers and safety Patrick Chung can return after missing the last game and a half with concussions. Two of their most important defensive players, it’s no surprise their defense has struggled since losing them, after a solid performance against the Texans week 1. Flowers and Chung are not guarantees to return this week, but both returned to practice this week and could be cleared from the concussion protocol. I’m keeping this as a low confidence pick for now, but depending on the status of Chung, Gordon, and Flowers and how the line reacts I may decide to make a bet on this one in the morning.
Sunday Update: Gordon, Flowers, and Chung are all active for New England, while Reshad Jones is out for the Dolphins, but the line has stayed put at 6.5. I’m bumping this up to a medium confidence pick.
New England Patriots 31 Miami Dolphins 20
Pick against the spread: New England -6.5