Note from the Author: In now its 6th year of publication, the HBGP has become a fixture during the NFL season at The Sideline Report. While most of you jerks barely read it and just love to poke holes in how every category is rated and, admittedly, homered up, it has always been an enjoyable writing these articles. As with all things, changes happen and starting this year the HBGP will take on a bit different of a look. While the same level of highly bias unbias will take place, the format will be evolving to help make something that is easier to put together on a weekly basis.
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!???!!?!
After the cataclysmic events rocked the world at large, we now look at returning to some level of normal as the new NFL season kicks off. Well…May be not that normal. The lasting effects of the Wuhan-19 are going to be felt on an ongoing basis with empty stadiums and unexpected medical issues but hopefully, if we are lucky, they can squeeze in an NFL season for our enjoyment.
The 2020/2021 season kicks off with the perennially rebuilding Miami Dolphins heading north to take on the defending AFC East Division Champion New England Patriots. This matchup should be very intriguing based on the interesting off seasons that both teams had.
For Miami, their 2019 tanking campaign almost ended in failure by winning too many games. However, they were still able to land severely injured QB prospect Tua Tagovailoa from Alabama with their top pick and add some Offensive and Defensive help in the 1st Round thanks to the emptying of their roster. All in total the Dolphins brought in 11 draft picks to fill their talent depleted roster. Of course, no Dolphins off season is complete without overpaying for a multitude of free agents. Miami spent $123 Million in guaranteed contracts during the off season.
In New England, in the midst of all the usual Free Agent and Coaching defections that the Patriots have grown accustom to, the biggest change, obviously, was the departure of Tom Brady. Couple that with a league leading 8 players opting out of the 2020 season due to Wuhan-19 concerns, New England was left with a lot of holes to fill and not a lot of resources to do so. However the Patriots do what they do and with the addition of former Panther Cam Newton, the Patriots look to move forward in their defense of the AFC East Division Crown.
Both teams are looking for strong starts to the 2020-2021 season so in yet another futile attempt to be non-bias and analytical, both teams are broken down in key areas to see how they will match up against each other and which one may have the key to a victory.
KEYS TO VICTORY:
1) Finding the Offense: It’s a new world in New England and the key will be to find an offensive identity…Not only to get through this game but to build on moving forward.
2) Take Some Defensive Risks: The Patriots are very young and inexperienced at Linebacker. This can and is a liability on passing downs. Easiest thing for a Linebacker to do is to blitz….Patriots should blitz them and blitz them often.
3) Don’t get Cute: In Cam Newton, the Patriots have a physical skill set that they have not ever had at the Quarterback position. While that sounds nice, Cam Newton is also injury prone. Don’t take unnecessary risks
Expect a painfully close, very sloppy division game.
The Knuckles Prediction: Patriots 19 – Dolphins 16
We have a knockout league, all should enter. It's three teams per week, very easy and should be fun. See rules here https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1N3KDggWdayS2pwthQfcoLEe2fx-6RUIHqsNUWM6HVqI/edit#gid=0