BOSTON (CBS) – The New England Patriots open up their 2011 season Monday night in Miami.
The CBSBoston Sports team weighs in on what the Patriots need to do to beat the Dolphins, and what to expect from their Monday night opener.
Scott Zolak, 98.5 The Sports Hub
The Patriots need to put pressure on Miami quarterback Chad Henne. He is not a great quarterback and getting pressure on him will make him rush his decisions.
They also need to keep running back Reggie Bush in check and know where he is on the field at all times. He’s very sneaky and can break a big play at any moment.
The offensive line will have to contain Cameron Wake and keep him off Tom Brady. The linebacker has two sacks against New England the last two seasons.
Watch: The Gresh & Zo Whiteboard
A lot has been made of all of Brady’s targets, but the Pats need to run the ball. They have a bunch of solid backs, use them!
That’s it baby! FOOTBALL!
Andy Gresh, 98.5 The Sports Hub
When the Patriots open the season against the Dolphins, they will have to run the football. Dealing with the elements is also important, because it can be humid and nasty down there; especially in September. The fat bodies usually end up having some issues, so plan for that.
In terms of special teams, deal with playing on a baseball field because the dirt is going to be down. You’ve got to be very aware of where you are on the field and the kind of plays you’re going to run; whether you can or can’t kick it, and how agressive that ends up making you.
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV
It’s the season opener and the Patriots need to get off to a great start. They need to be aware that they embarrassed the Dolphins twice last year, once on Monday Night Football. Miami has not forgotten that.
I’d like to see the offense put up some big numbers like we know they can, but if Brady and Ochocinco are still not on the same page they shouldn’t try to force it. It will happen as the season goes along.
I expect the Patriots to have a better running game this season, and I think Stevan Ridley (even though he may not play Monday Night) could become the premiere back.
On defense, I want to see what has been missing the past three years: a dominant pass-rush. The Patriots finally have the personnel to get that done. With Vince Wilfork and Albert Haynesworth, that’s nearly 800 pounds the offensive line will have to deal with, which should make it very difficult for Miami and anyone else to run the football.
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV
I think the Patriots will beat the Dolphins to the tune of 31-21, but it may not be as easy as it was last season down there. The keys to me are the two quarterbacks. Does Brady re-group after a tough loss to the Jets in the postseason? Can he avoid pressure and the problems that go with it? If he plays like the MVP we saw all last regular season then the Pats will win. If he hears and feels the footsteps of Cameron Wake and company it will be a close game.
Read: Dan Roche’s Sports Blog
As for Miami? They voted Chad Henne a captain after opening training camp with fans booing the guy and chanting the name of Kyle Orton. If Henne plays a Chad Pennington-type of game then the Dolphins have a chance. He can’t panic, especially early because the new and revamped Pats defense will come out charging after him.
Levan Reid, WBZ-TV
I expect a 24-10 Patriots win, and I expect to see the defense just smother the attack of the Dolphins. Bill Belichick has been playing coy with this defense a little bit. We’ll get a chance to see what the rotation is like, and the Pats should look good. I can see the defense only giving up 10 points. Dolphins Receiver Devon Bess gets the touchdown; he’s a Welker in waiting.
Offensively I expect the Pats to struggle a bit, but Ochocinco to get around four catches and Deion Branch to finally get a grab (after being shut out in the preseason). Brady show some rust and won’t have a great game, but the Patriots will find a way to pick him up and put up 24 points.
Everyone will be excited because the Pats defense looks good and the team found a way to win when QB 12 was not “on.”
Tune in to the Patriots season opener at 7pm Monday night on 98.5 The Sports Hub with pregame coverage beginning at 4pm. After the game, tune in to the Postgame show on 98.5, and to Patriots Fifth Quarter on TV38.