Dolphins Opening Odds and Other Opener Thoughts

Breaking down the Miami Dolphins season opener against the New England Patriots
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Now that the NFL unveiled the full slate of Week 1 games for the 2021 regular season, it didn't take long for odds for those 16 games to be posted.

The Dolphins will open the regular season against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in a late-afternoon game on Sunday, Sept. 12 and Fan Duel has made New England a 1.5-point favorite with an over/under total of 45 points.

The Dolphins and Patriots split their two games last season, with each team winning at home — New England 21-11 in Week 1 and Miami 22-12 in December.

Some other thoughts on the season opener:

-- The first thing that jumps out is it's a little ho-hum to open against the same team two consecutive seasons, even more so in the same stadium. The last time the Dolphins have opened back-to-back seasons against the same opponent was 1997 and 1998 against the Colts, but the first game was in Miami and the second in Indianapolis. You have to go back more than 40 years to find back-to-back openers against the same opponent in the same stadium, and that was in 1979 and 1980 when Miami opened at Buffalo. The Dolphins also opened at Buffalo in 1976 and 1977. But clearly this is very rare and, quite frankly, a little ordinary.

-- Opening at New England does serve up the possibility that we could see an Alabama quarterback battle between Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones, though that's assuming that Jones can beat out veteran Cam Newton for the starting job.

-- This opener will be different than last year, though, because it will come after each team will have played three preseason games. There was no preseason in 2020, of course, because of COVID-19 and that made for much different season openers around the league.

-- This game will reunite several players who went from New England to Miami in the offseason, or vice versa. Dolphins newcomers Jason McCourty and Adam Butler both played for the Patriots last year, while Davon Godchaux, Ted Karras and Kyle Van Noy all went in the other direction. That will make for an interesting sub-plot.

-- It was interesting that this game was selected for the 4:25 p.m. slot, though the playoff rematch between Cleveland and Kansas City figures to be televised to a much large portion of the country.