By Tiffany Williams –
Sunday afternoon the New England Patriots will open their 2022-23 season against the Miami Dolphins for the first of two scheduled meetings. The Dolphins and Patriots met for the first time in 1966 and began playing twice a year during the 1967 regular season, except in 1982 during a players’ strike. This will be the 11th time in team history the Patriots have played on opening day against the Dolphins, and the third straight season the two teams have battled in Week 1. Last season, Miami swept the season series for the first time since 2000.
The Patriots have had the upper hand at home against Miami, holding a 36-19 record in games played in New England in the regular season, including a 16-4 record at Gillette Stadium. But the Patriots are 17-40 all-time in Miami, including two postseason contests.
Since Bill Belichick became Patriots head coach in 2000, New England is 26-18 (.591) against Miami. Also, since 2000, the Patriots are 99-37 (.728) against AFC East opponents. New England is 26-18 against the Dolphins over that span, 34-10 against the New York Jets and 36-8 against the Buffalo Bills. The Patriots were 3-1 against Indianapolis from 2000 through 2001 when they were in the AFC East.
Saturday, wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey and linebacker Harvey Langi were both elevated from the practice squad, making both players eligible to play against the Dolphins on Sunday. Humphrey and Langi will not need to pass through waivers and will revert back to the practice squad after Sunday’s game, while both players have two more standard elevations this season.
Jakobi Meyers has scored on three two-point plays and needs one more two-point score to tie Julian Edelman and Gino Cappelletti with four for the most in team history.
Damien Harris enters the 2022 season with 17 rushing touchdowns and needs three rushing touchdowns to become the 14th Patriots player to reach 20 career rushing touchdowns and six to move into the Top 10 in team history. Harris is the last Patriots player to have three rushing touchdowns in a single game. He had three vs. Buffalo last season on Dec. 26, 2021.
Matthew Slater has played in 206 career games, tied with Julius Adams for the third-most in team history, behind the 285 by Tom Brady and 212 by Bruce Armstrong. Slater is entering his 15th NFL season. He will join Tom Brady, Steve Grogan, Troy Brown and Julius Adams as the only New England players to play in at least 15 seasons with the team.
All eyes Sunday afternoon will be on QB Mac Jones who finished his rookie season in 2021 with 3,801 passing yards and needs 105 passing yards to move past Ed “Butch” Songin (3,905) into 10th place, 120 yards to move past Mike Taliaferro (3,920) and 146 yards to move past Matt Cassel (3,946) into 8th place on New England’s all-time passing list. Earlier this week, Mac Jones was asked How important is it to start fast for Game One? Jones said “Yeah, I think it’s important. I think sometimes Game One, there’s a lot of emotional stuff. You want to focus more on the details of the plays and everything like that and let the emotions come and go. That’s how emotions are, they come and go. Energy and all that will be there. At the end of the day, it’s just the start of something. You have to learn from it and grow regardless of the results. So we’re going to go out there and compete and see how it goes. That’s all that you can ask for.” Jones also said this week that he thinks “Anything you do, you try to be positive and optimistic and just figure out the solution to the issue. That’s what every good problem solver does. There’s an issue or something that doesn’t make sense, they find a way to fix it.” Jones will start his sophomore season as one of six New England Patriots captains