Nick Saban has been at or near the top of the college football world ever since he has been at Alabama. But as BetOnline customers are probably aware, his quarterbacks there have not exactly made much impact in the NFL.
Well, three of those former Crimson Tide signal-callers are starting in the NFL this weekend. Jalen Hurts is the QB with the Philadelphia Eagles. And two of them will go at it in the game between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, scheduled for a 4:25 PM ET Sunday kickoff at Gillette Stadium.
Tua Tagovailoa is in his second season and is now the starter for the Dolphins. He's got more speed at the wide receiver position and some offensive coaches who have tailored a scheme that fits his strengths.
Mac Jones succeeded Tua at Alabama when Tagovailoa injured his hip, and he went on to lead the Tide to a title last season, with some phenomenal numbers. He was drafted in the first round by the Patriots, and perhaps expected to sit a learn for a while. But evidently Bill Belichick believes he is "NFL ready," because as the preseason progressed, he made the decision to release last year's starter, Cam Newton. And just like that,Jones slid into the starting role.
In the NFL betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, the Pats are favored at home:
New England Patriots -3 (-121)
Miami Dolphins +3 (+101)
Over 43.5 points -105
Under 43.5 points -115
One thing that bothers me about the Miami situation is that they have spent a lot of time talking about how much they believe in Tua, yet they continued to show interest in a deal to bring Deshaun Watson into the fold. And I wonder what kind of message the kid is supposed to get out of it.
Meanwhile, they have surrounded him with some more speed, and that comes in the form of Will Fuller and former 'Bama teammate Jaylen Waddle, but they still don't have that standout ball carrier they can give it to 20 times a game. And if they are going to put Tua into some two-tight end sets, they could use an upgrade at the tight end position.
That's exactly what happened with the Pats, who signed Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry and once again give Belichick a chance to work wonders at the position.
That's just one of the things I like about what New England has done. They are also stacked with running backs, and rookie Rhamondre Stevenson from Oklahoma is one of them. They're going to do whatever they can to keep the pressure off Jones. And they can go deeper down the field with Nelson Agholor.
One of Belichick's closest friends is Nick Saban, and you just know he's gotten all the information he could possibly get from him about Mac Jones. He knows exactly what he wants out of him, and is no doubt confident he's going to get it.
And this Patriot team will be better defensively. Kyle Van Noy comes back from Miami, and he, along with Matthew Judon and Dont'a Hightower, who is returning from injury, will make this linebacker crew very formidable.
I'm not surprised if the Pats contend in the AFC East, and I will lay the points in this one.
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