This week, division rivals, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins play each other in a divisional game. While the media portray this away game as an easy win for the Patriots, there are still a lot of match ups to look for and overall this is going to be a tough game for both sides. There’s a lot to look out for.
Offensively, the Patriots are going to have to play against a very tough run defense. In fact it is one the best that the patriots have played against all year long. In addition, the loss of Gronkowski(TE), a top ten run blocking tight end, is going to affect this match up quite a bit. The Dolphins front 7 and Steven Ridley(RB), the main workhorse back and the offensive line should have quite the battle all day long. Karlos Dansby(MLB),Oliver Vernon(DE), and Cameron Wake(DE) should all be huge factors for the New England offense to watch out for. Their speed and versatility will pose a threat for both the run and the pass as they will pressure Brady and the running backs all day long. The Miami Secondary has been having a mediocre year and once Brady can get in a rhythm, he should be able to perform at his normal level.
Defensively, The Patriots have had a resurgence in their front seven after having a surprising 2 first round draft picks, Dont’a Hightower(LB) and the leading candidate for defensive rookie of year, Chandler Jones(DE). Both of these guys have helped create big plays and turnovers for the Patriots. One of the big problems for the Dolphin’s offensive line, which has held together for the most part, is going to be Jones. His speed and strength should create huge problems for Jake Long(LT) and the left side of the O-Line. In addition, the Patriots should have to watch out for Reggie Bush(RB) and Daniel Thomas(RB). Both are great rushers and complement each other very well. If the Dolphins control the clock with the run and employ a no-huddle passing offense against a mismatched defense, it is going to be very hard for the Pats to pull back and win this game. While the wide receivers for the dolphins have been nothing special, they are still going to be matched well against Dennard(CB) and Talib(CB). Both corners are going to have to get some help from their safeties, who have been absolutely horrid in the past few years.
On special teams, it is the Patriots game to lose. They have had some very big turnovers in the past few games and I would not be surprised to see another forced fumble off off a kickoff or so. Many of the Pat’s players are very versatile and it should be a fun to watch. Dan Carpenter(K) and Stephen Gostkowski(K) have both been missing kicks, but I still think that Stephen is the better kicker here.
Overall, this is going to be a closer game than most people think, but I still believe that the Patriots will come out with a W. The dolphins, who were playoff contenders a couple of weeks ago have been encountering some problems and have lost some games that were in their hands, but they are coming off off a win that will give them some confidence and I believe that they will be a tough fight for the Patriots