New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins: Predicting the Top 5 Performers

By Justin Patrick

Predicting the Top 5 Performers for New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins

Patriots at Dolphins
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday the New England Patriots will start their 2014 season on the road against the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots and Dolphins have faced off 97 times (including three times in the playoffs) and the Dolphins lead the series 51-46, but the Patriots are 4-3 against the Dolphins on opening day. When these two teams square off on Sunday which five players will be the top performers?

5. CB Darrelle Revis

Patriots at Dolphins
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

5. CB Darrelle Revis

Patriots at Dolphins
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Revis has had some injuries issues in past seasons, and the Buccaneers did not use him correctly in 2013. He’s healthy now, and the Patriots can either have Revis move around and cover the opposing team’s best WR or have him lock down an entire side of the field (like Richard Sherman for the Seahawks).

4. WR Mike Wallace

Patriots at Dolphins
Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

4. WR Mike Wallace

Patriots at Dolphins
Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Wallace spent his first four seasons in Pittsburgh, and after a rocky start to his Miami tenure last season, he ended the season with 930 receiving yards. He should be Tannehill’s top target this season, and opening day will be no different. Of course if Wallace is blanketed by Revis all day, that’s another story, but Wallace has the speed and potential to put up some big numbers if he can shake the coverage.

3. DE Cameron Wake

Patriots at Dolphins
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

3. DE Cameron Wake

Patriots at Dolphins
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Wake was fantastic in 2012, and he continued to impress last season. If the Patriots end up moving OT Sebastian Vollmer inside to guard, OT Marcus Gannon may be left in a matchup with the left DE, aka Wake. That could be no bueno for the Patriots. There’s no way Brady’s calf injury keeps him out of this game, but his mobility may be limited, helping Wake to get pressure on him.

2. QB Tom Brady

Patriots at Dolphins
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

2. QB Tom Brady

Patriots at Dolphins
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Brady returned to practice on Friday after he was absent with that calf injury. Brady is 17-7 lifetime in 24 starts against the Dolphins. Even if Wake does pressure him early, look for Brady, head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to change up their strategy — maybe getting the ball out of Brady’s hands even quicker — and for Brady to play well. He could throw for 300 yards, three touchdowns and no picks on Sunday.

1. WR Julian Edelman

Patriots at Dolphins
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

1. WR Julian Edelman

Patriots at Dolphins
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Edelman led the Patriots with 105 catches last season, and with Belichick putting the brakes on TE Rob Gronkowski being ready, Edelman will probably be targeted often on Sunday. Edelman may have double-digit receptions, and he could find the end zone as well. This may not be a recipe for success throughout the entire season (other receivers need to step up), but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Edelman have a big day to start the 2014 season.

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