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Patriots Look To Solve Their Miami Woes To Clinch AFC East

by Daniel Gerbick on Friday, December 7th, 2018

TOM BRADY NEW ENGLANDThe New England Patriots (9-3) travel to South Beach to take on the Miami Dolphins (6-6) and try to clinch the AFC East division title on Sunday, however, this is a match that tends to be trickier than usual for Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick.

Brady is 7-9 in his career against the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium while he’s 15-1 against the Dolphins in Foxborough, Massachusetts, with the lone loss coming in 2006.

Comparing that to Brady’s record against the Bills and Jets is not even close as he’s 15-2 in Buffalo against the Bills and in 13-4 in New York against the Jets.

In contrast, Dolphins’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill is 3-0 in his past three home games against the Patriots, with seven touchdowns and one interception.

Miami has won four of their past five home games against New England. The Dolphins are 4-1 at home this season as they benefit from playing at one of the NFL’s most humid venues.

New England has won four of their last five games against Miami and will need to stick to the formula they used in Week 4 to beat the Dolphins again as their defense is allowing over 144 yards per game to rank 30th in the league.

In their first meeting of the season, the Pats earned a 38-7 rout thanks to a heavy ground attack led by running back Sony Michel who carried the ball 25 times for 112 yards and a score.

As for the Dolphins, their offense has been very dull for most of the season and their only hope of beating the Patriots is if Ryan Tannehill finds a way to escape the Patriots pocket pressure.

He will need to scramble to escape the pass rush and get outside to extend the plays with his feet to find the open receivers or get those extra yards to move the chains. The Pats will need to be patient with Tannehill to try to keep him contained and make him beat them with his arm.

The Patriots will also try to use a resurgent Josh Gordon and his increasing chemistry with Tom Brady to try and exploit a Dolphins pass defense that ranks 21st in the NFL as it’s allowing over 254 yards per game.

In his last two weeks Gordon has caught all eight passes headed his way for 128 yards and a score and an average of 16 yards per catch.

Furthermore, Brady could have a field day as the Dolphins will be without top cornerback Xavien Howard, who had four interceptions in the last two weeks against the Colts and Bills.

Howard, who is the Dolphins’ best pass defender and the NFL’s interception leader (7), will miss the game with a knee injury. Last season he had two picks off Tom Brady in Miami to help the Dolphins win 27-20 and split the season series.

This week the Patriots will prove too much for the Dolphins as they will make use of a solid ground attack and Howard’s absence to overwhelm a Dolphins defense that ranks 20th in the league allowing 25 points per game.

Prediction: Patriots 28 – 17 Dolphins

 

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