(WPRI) — Here are a few keys to the game as the Patriots look to start the season with a win in Miami against their division rivals.

  • Patriots defense limiting the “big play”. The Dolphins have a lot of explosive playmakers. If the Patriots can limit long gains or touchdowns, that will go a long way in New England’s chances of winning.
  • Production of the Patriots offense. To this point through the pre-season, the Patriots haven’t shown many glimpses of a productive offense. Sure, pre-season games don’t count, but from what we’ve seen so far to this point (and no official offensive coordinator), that’s a big topic heading into the games that count.
  • Staying hydrated. Week one in Miami is going to be hot (in the 90’s). New England has been in Miami for a few days for practices to get used to the heat, so they are used to it by now. Weather aside, the Pats haven’t played well in Miami in the last two matchups in Florida.

Here are some quotes from Head Coach Bill Belichick and Mac Jones ahead of Sunday’s game.

Bill Belichick: “I think every game is a good test for your team, regular season. Every game is a good test. All the teams are good, all the teams will attack your weaknesses and try to make it hard on you. We’ll try to do the same thing to them, see how it goes.”

Mac Jones on not having Josh McDaniels and the uncertainty of no official Offensive Coordinator: “I think the uncertainty just has to clear itself up. I think that’s just a mentality. I think it’s all about getting in the right spot, having confidence in one another and we’ve done that. Sometimes it’s not going to be a perfect clean picture right off the bat when something’s new a little bit. But I feel like we’ve made really good strides in practice and the games even. When you really watch the tape to see how close we are. We’re just excited to get out there and put it on tape and see what we can do and adjust and just play for one another. That’s all it comes down to. The x’s and o’s are the x’s and o’s. But if we play for one another then good things can happen.”

Mac Jones on Bill Belichick: Yeah, I think he’s done a great job just explaining everything to me from his standpoint of view. He’s seen a lot of football, whether that be a certain route, or a certain defense or a certain run. He’s very good about understanding how to see it through my eyes, but also how he sees it. He’s a really smart guy. We’re both smart. We both can come together and come to a conclusion that this is why we want to do this play. He explains it and then I have to go execute it. So I’ve been really comfortable with that.

Kickoff at Hard Rock Stadium is at 1 p.m. on Sunday.