Looking to avoid their first 1-3 start in almost 20 years, the New England Patriots will welcome the Miami Dolphins to Gillette Stadium in what will be New England's first divisional matchup of the season.
The Patriots come into this game on the heels of a 26-10 beatdown by the Detroit Lions in Week 3, while the Dolphins roll into The Razor with an AFC East-best 3-0 mark on the season.
Here's how the 98.5 The Sports Hub Staff sees the game breaking down...
Ty Anderson (Writer/columnist, 985TheSportsHub.com)
I'm 0-3. You shouldn't listen to anything I say, but that's what this company pays me for, so spare me a moment.
This is gut check time for the 2018 Patriots. At 1-2, this is arguably the worst it's ever been under the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick domination of the National Football League. In fact, it's soooooo bad so this is the deepest into a season that the Cleveland Browns have held a better record than the Patriots since Week 11 of the 2001 season. Now, this isn't to say that the Patriots are going to roll the first-place Dolphins just because history says they should. But if they don't, the tension in that locker room only grows tighter, and the frustrations will only get louder. Oh, and they'll be three games out of first place in the AFC East just four weeks into the season. I have a feeling this team knows what's on the line. Across the board.
Patriots 26, Dolphins 20.
Christian Arcand (Co-host, The Adam Jones Show)
Adam Jones (The Adam Jones Show)
This week has nothing to do with the Dolphins. It has EVERYTHING to do with the Patriots. My season-long expectations are a little down for the Pats this year, but I still expect them to win the division. And if you're going to win the AFC East, you better win this week.
Tony Massarotti (Co-host, Felger and Mazz)
Let's keep it simple: Pats have managed OK at home and been shwacked on the road. Not uncommon in the NFL. But this week, they're at home in a virtual must-win against a division opponent after a bad loss. Then Edelman comes back in a short week. The point? We may not get a clearer picture of what this team until Week 6. In the interim, they need this game. And however ugly it is this week, they'll get it.
Patriots 27, Dolphins 17.
Matt McCarthy (98.5 The Sports Hub)
Patriots 24, Dolphins 23.
Mike 'Sarge' Riley (98.5 The Sports Hub)
Matt Dolloff (Writer/columnist, 985TheSportsHub.com)
Silence has been deafening in the Patriots locker room this week. Things have noticeably tightened up after two straight losses and the lightning-rod addition of Josh Gordon. Perhaps Gordon is ready this week, but it's hard to imagine he'd be able to execute more than a handful of plays. It could be worth dressing him and giving him opportunities to beat one-on-one coverage when the situation arises. The Patriots are home and healthier, so they should absolutely be much-improved on both sides of the ball.
Still a tough matchup though, with the Dolphins playing well and presenting a similar challenge to the Jaguars and Lions. They have plenty of weapons on offense, an effective short passing game, and a young, very talented secondary led by cornerback Xavien Howard. The game should ultimately come down to who's more focused on offense and executes in critical situations. A much better, sharper Tom Brady leads the way in this one, but it won't be a perfect win. Not enough to change the minds of cynics and skeptics.
Patriots 30, Dolphins 27.