Patriots to Face AFC East Rival in Week 1: Report

New England Patriots

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he New England Patriots will face a big test in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL regular season.

Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald was the first to report that the Patriots would be facing the Miami Dolphins to kick off this season.

Sources: The #Patriots are playing at Miami in Week 1,” Callahan tweeted on Thursday, May 12.

Last season the Patriots didn’t perform well against the Dolphins as they lost in both matchups in 2021. Miami faced New England in Foxboro in the first week of the 2021 season and were victorious 17-16. The Patriots once again lost in the final week of the season with the Dolphins picking up a 33-24 win. This will be the third straight year that New England opens the regular season against Miami.

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What Has Changed Since 2021?

But a lot of things have changed between the two teams. On the sidelines, Brian Flores is no longer the head coach of Miami and Josh McDaniels left New England to become the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

On the field, the Dolphins have improved their offense with their massive trade to acquire Tyreek Hill. The former Kansas City Chief wide receiver is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. In 2021, Hill racked up 111 receptions for 1,239 yards and 9 touchdowns.

With the addition of an elite wide receiver to line up alongside Jaylen Waddle, the Dolphins will be expecting more from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The second-year quarterback had a mediocre season in 2021. While throwing for 2,653 yards and 16 touchdowns, he also threw 10 interceptions.

Waddle on the other hand had a fantastic rookie season. The rookie tallied 104 receptions, 1,015 yards and 6 touchdowns.

The Patriots have had to deal with some massive losses, the main one being J.C. Jackson in the secondary. So far, New England has replaced the top cornerback by signing Malcolm Butler out of retirement.

On offense, the Patriots remained mostly the same. Mac Jones and Damien Harris will continue to lead the way on offense. The same goes for pass-catchers Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne.

But New England did make a big move acquiring DeVante Parker from the Dolphins. Parker is coming off a poor 2021 season where he only had 40 receptions for 515 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Still, Parker is only a couple of seasons removed from racking up over 1,000 yards. In 2019, Parker had 72 receptions for 1,202 yards and 9 touchdowns. He is the only wide receiver on New England’s roster to record a 1,000-yard season in their career.

Beating The Heat

The fact that the Patriots will be playing down in Florida to start the season will play to their advantage. When facing Miami towards the end of the season, New England has to deal with high temperatures and humidity that they aren’t used to in Massachusetts during the winter.

Now Miami will have to deal with the freezing cold that makes Foxboro a fun place to play late in the season.

New England will still have to deal with the heat in Week 1, but they will already be dealing with warmer temperatures during training camp and the preseason.

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