The 2011 NFL Monday Night Football game between the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins (host) is set for September 12 (7 PM EST) at Sun Life Stadium. ESPN will provide TV broadcast of the season’s first MNF contest. This article offers predictions for the 2011 Patriots-Dolphins game.
1) Head to Head
The first of two Monday Night Football games will feature two division foes in the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins. Since 2003, the two teams have met 16 times with the Patriots enjoying a strong 11-5 advantage. New England dominated their two meetings in 2010, outscoring Miami 79-21.
On paper, this MNF contest should be a one-sided affair. The Patriots absolutely obliterated the Dolphins last year en route to a magnificent 14-2 season. Miami, on the other hand, ended last season with three straight defeats to miss the playoffs. To make matters worse, this year’s Dolphins will once again be led by QB Chad Henne – a fourth-year quarterback who has never thrown more TDs than interceptions in a season. Even with a new offensive coordinator, the offensive talent level is just not there.
Yet, there are a few wildcards that should make this contest quite interesting. For starter, the Dolphins had looked good in the pre-season with convincing victories over Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Dallas. Miami’s defensive unit, which was the lone bright spot last season, was terrific again in the pre-season limiting its opponents to less than 13 pts a game. Even Chad Henne has shown marked improvement in the pre-season, connecting well with his receivers.
New England is also facing many question marks. First and foremost, Tom Brady has yet to hit his stride, at least in the pre-season. The Patriots is also having injury issues with several key players listed as questionable for Monday’s game. Finally, playing the first game of the season on the road is always difficult. New England’s two losses last season were both on the road.
Ultimately, the outcome of this game will hinge on which team can bring out its best form for the opener. With Bill Belichick at the anchor, it is always difficult to bet against New England. The Patriots may have looked unconvincing in the pre-season, but they will undoubtedly be ready for the first kickoff. The Dolphins will give Belichick’s crew a run for their money, but victory is well within New England’s grasp.
My prediction for the 2011 Monday Night Football game between New England and Miami: the Patriots overwhelm the Dolphins by the score of 31-17; Chad Henne will not throw a TD. Kickoff time for the game is 7 PM EST. ESPN will broadcast this contest.