Our first Sunday night game of the season was a big-time snoozer for anyone outside the Dallas Fort-Worth area. Last week's Sunday Night Football contest featured the Dallas Cowboys obliterating the New York Giants, 40-0, in one of those everything-went-right games for the 'Boys and everything-went-wrong games for the G-Men. The contest was effectively over by the end of the first quarter. Hopefully Week 2 will give us a more enticing affair. Or at least feature points scored by both sides.
Who will attempt to give us that game?
Who is Playing on Sunday Night Football?
Week 2 of the Sunday Night Football season will feature the New England Patriots hosting the Miami Dolphins in an AFC East grudge match. The two sides split the two games they played against each other last season. In the opening week of 2022, the Dolphins' new-look offense put up 20 points on Bill Belichick's heralded defense while Mac Jones and Co. scored only a touchdown and lost, 20-7. Then in Week 17 the Patriots edged the Dolphins, 23-21, with Tua Tagovailoa missing the game due to injury. In many ways neither team really got a full approximation of the other. Mike McDaniel was still installing his offense in the Week 1 win and the next time he saw New England he was without the starting quarterback that made it all go.
Which makes this a very exciting matchup indeed. Belichick improved on last year's defense and now boasts a roster filled with elite, versatile athletes. It's just the kind of personnel required to keep up with Miami's own set of versatile and elite athletes they boast at the skill positions. The Pats had a tremendous debut on that side of the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1, holding Jalen Hurts and the rest of an excellent Eagles offense to only 170 yards through the air. This week's job will be just as tough, if not tougher, after Tagovailoa threw for an astounding 466 yards in the Dolphins' Week 1 win over the Chargers.
Tyreek Hill vs. the Patriots' secondary is the matchup to watch here. Jaylen Waddle is great but Hill is game-breaking, as evidenced by his Week 1 statline of 11 catches for 215 yards and two touchdowns. New England handled Hill well enough in 2022, limiting him to less than 100 yards receiving in both games they faced him. If they can do that again, keeping the lid on the rest of the offense is a marginally easier task.
The Pats' offense received most of the attention over the offseason, though, and Mac Jones will be going up against an experienced coordinator in Vic Fangio. Fangio was hired by Miami this offseason but lost his top corner, Jalen Ramsey, during training camp. His debut for the Dolphins was not the best. The Chargers put up 34 points in Week 1 against Miami and in particular gashed them on the ground as Austin Ekler and Joshua Kelley combined for over 200 yards rushing. There's work to be done.
New England, meanwhile, looked like a professional offense for the first time since Josh McDaniels graced the sideline. They struggled to start the Eagles game but Jones ended up throwing for 316 yards and three touchdowns in the 25-20 loss. He'll be looking to pick up where he left off but the Patriots will try to be more effective on the ground after managing only 76 yards in total between Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott.
That's a long way of saying the sides are fairly evenly matched with one clear strength and are trying to prove that their weaknesses are managable. It should be a fun game. And, more importantly, a competitive one.