The Miami Dolphins will play host again and welcome the New England Patriots to Hard Rock Stadium, where kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET Sunday. Miami has a defense that allows only 18.85 points per game, so New England’s offense will have their work cut out for them.
Watch as the 8-5 Miami Dolphins attempt to hold their seventh playoff seed when they host the 6-7 New England Patriots this upcoming Sunday. New England followed up a week 13, 45-0 thrashing of the Chargers with an embarrassing 24-3 loss to the Rams in week 14. Meanwhile, Miami had been riding a two-game winning streak before dropping a tough game against the Kansas City Chiefs this past weekend.
The thing about this Miami Dolphins team, which has Brian Flores running it, is that they’re made to withstand a ton of injuries. It’s why I don’t think you’ll see them go after big-time offensive free agents like Schuster and Galloway in the off-season. They’d rather have under-the-radar guys and try to hit on them and if they don’t the dropoff to the next guy isn’t that severe.
How To Watch
- When: Sunday at 1 p.m. ET
- Where: Hard Rock Stadium — Miami Gardens, Florida
- TV: CBS
- Online streaming: WATCH FREE HERE
This next contest is expected to be close, with the Dolphins going off at just a 1-point favorite. They have been consistent moneymakers against the spread when favored (4-1), so they might be worth a quick bet.
Miami Dolphins: Mike Gesicki (shoulder) Q, Bobby McCain (ankle) Q, Salvon Ahmed (shoulder) Q, Ereck Flowers (ankle) Q, Jakeem Grant (hamstring) Q, DeVante Parker (hamstring) Q, Elandon Roberts (chest) Q, Kyle Van Noy (hip) Q
New England Patriots: Adam Butler (shoulder) Q, Byron Cowart (back) Q, Jermaine Eluemunor (ankle) Q, Nick Folk (back) Q, Lawrence Guy (shoulder) Q, Justin Herron (ankle) Q, J.C. Jackson (knee) Q, Jonathan Jones (neck) Q, Shaq Mason (calf) Q, Donte Moncrief (thigh) Q, Matthew Slater (knee) Q, J.J. Taylor (quadricep) Q, James White (foot) Q
Miami is one of 2020s more intriguing NFL storylines, as they’ve skyrocketed from bottom-dwelling in the AFC East with the Jets to fighting for a playoff spot in the final weeks of the season. As it stands, Miami currently holds an 8-5 tie-breaker over Baltimore, and therefore the seventh seed in the AFC playoff picture. Prior to this past weekend, Miami had won seven of eight games and improved to 8-4, with their only loss coming in a disappointing week 11 game against Denver. This past weekend was another disappointing loss, falling behind early to the Chiefs and dropping to 8-5 despite 17 fourth-quarter points in an inspiring comeback attempt.
We can’t talk about the Dolphins’ offense without talking about Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tua Tagovailoa. After leading Miami to a 3-3 start, starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was benched in favor of the much-anticipated Tua Tagovailoa. Since then, it has somehow become even more dramatic of a storyline. First, Tua has at times looked great, while at times has looked very conservative. Overall, he’s completed 61.1-percent of his passes for 1219 yards, nine touchdowns, and just one interception over seven games.
New England Patriots
It’s now or never for the 6-7 New England Patriots, who are on the outside looking in and on the verge of busting their record-breaking 11-season playoff streak. After starting 2-1, a four-game losing streak left New England at 2-5 and scrambling to save their season. Since then, they’ve won four out of six and now sit two games back of the 8-5 Dolphins with three games left to play.
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It goes without saying, but a needed win this weekend would bring them within a game of Miami (in which case a win would give them the tie-breaker after sweeping them). A loss would put them three games back with only two to play, eliminating them from playoff contention (Buffalo leads the division at 10-3 and is out of reach already and everybody else holding a wildcard spot has at least nine wins).
Offensively, Cam Newton and the Patriots have not gotten the job done. Despite a potent rushing attack, their 147.5 rushing yards per game rank fifth-highest in the NFL, their lack of a passing attack is making them too one-dimensional. On the season, only five teams are scoring less than the Patriots are at 21.3 points per game. Newton is completing 66.1-percent of his passes for a pedestrian 2172 yards, five touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.
What’s Going To Happen
The Patriots aren’t getting that ground game going this time around.
It worked in the first game, but the Miami defense is better, the team has found a bit of a groove, and despite losing two of the last four, it’s a team on the rise. The Dolphins are right on edge of the playoffs – they’re currently in the seventh and final spot in the ACC – and now they’re going to rise up and end the Patriots’ hopes.