The Miami Dolphins are in a tough spot entering their Week 1 matchup against the New England Patriots.
They haven't been able to prepare for a Patriots offense that has a new quarterback in Cam Newton, whose skill set differs quite a bit in several ways when compared to Tom Brady.
Training camp was unlike any other in recent memory due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were no preseason games for teams to watch film on and scout, and teams couldn't send scouts to other camps and gather information.
The Dolphins have no idea what the Patriots offense will look like with Newton. It's a unique situation that should benefit the Patriots on Sunday afternoon.
In the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discussed how offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels can use the element of surprise to New England's advantage this season.
"This is the advantage the Patriots have, and it's not just for Week 1 -- that's specifically when it should be at its strongest, in theory, because nobody knows what anyone is going to do, especially when you have a coordinator working with a new quarterback," Perry said.
"But I think this is how they'll have to get by all year long. They're going to have to deceive to achieve, that's going to have to be their plan all year long, and they have a great quarterback to do that when he's healthy.
"For us, when we've essentially seen the same offense -- and take different forms -- but for it to be a drop-back, pass-heavy, kill it in the short to intermediate range of the field for the better part of the last two decades, this (year) is going to be different. It's going to be option offense, it's going to be zone-read offense, it's going to be RPO, it's going to be triple option, there's going to be QB-designed runs.
"There will be three running backs in the backfield at times -- four, if you include the quarterback. I think those are all the things we can see -- we don't know for sure yet because we haven't seen it yet, but that's one of the reasons why this season is as intriguing as it is."
For more on this topic and others including Curran's predictions for the 2020 NFL season, check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or on YouTube.