The Miami Dolphins will attempt to delay what has turn into a ceremony of passage within the AFC East after they host the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon.
Tom Brady and the Patriots (9-3) can prolong their very own NFL document and wrap up their 10th consecutive division title by finishing a season sweep of the Dolphins — a staff they ran roughshod over in a 38-7 romp in Week 4.
Nonetheless, regardless of New England’s overwhelming dominance over the AFC East for the previous decade, the highway to the titles has been a bit bumpy when the Patriots take their abilities to South Florida. Miami (6-6) has gained 4 of the previous 5 at residence within the sequence.
“I feel the local weather performs some function and so they at all times appear to play properly after they play us down there,” mentioned Brady. “We aren’t going to get beat by the climate, we will get beat by the Dolphins. That’s what we understand. We’re going up towards an excellent opponent that performs us very properly at residence. We play them very properly at residence. It’s simply a kind of sequence the place it’s form of like that.”
The Patriots have struggled away from residence, splitting six highway video games and struggling double-digit defeats at Jacksonville, Detroit and Tennessee. Conversely, Miami is 5-1 at residence this season and is amongst 4 groups sitting one sport behind Baltimore for the ultimate playoff spot within the AFC.
The Dolphins entered the primary match unbeaten at 3-0, however Brady threw two of his three landing passes throughout a 21-point second quarter as New England bolted to a 24-Zero halftime lead and coasted to victory.
“It is not a straightforward process,” Dolphins head coach Adam Gase mentioned of going through Brady. “Our guys must do an incredible job of understanding how they’re being attacked.”
Miami’s possibilities of slowing New England’s offense took successful on account of a knee harm to cornerback Xavien Howard, the reigning AFC Defensive Participant of the Week, who is anticipated to be sidelined for Sunday’s sport due to a knee harm.
Howard leads the NFL with seven interceptions, together with 4 prior to now two weeks. He additionally picked off Brady twice final December within the Dolphins’ 27-20 victory.
“(Howard) is one among our greatest gamers if not our greatest participant on protection,” Gase mentioned. “If he cannot go, we now have to make some changes.”
Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill returned to the lineup on Nov. 25 after lacking 5 video games with a shoulder harm. He has 5 landing passes towards just one interception prior to now two weeks, though he threw for less than 137 yards in final weekend’s 21-17 residence win over Buffalo.
“I really feel good. I obtained hit just a few instances, however I did not get dinged up or something like that,” mentioned Tannehill. “My shoulder will not be 100 %, however it’s trending in the best course.”
Tannehill hopes vast receiver Danny Amendola will likely be again within the lineup after sitting out final week’s sport on account of a knee harm. Amendola, who leads the Dolphins with 48 receptions and 469 yards, spent his earlier 5 seasons with New England.
“He needs to play on this sport as unhealthy any anyone,” mentioned Gase. “I’m simply making an attempt to verify we undergo the week in the best approach the place he would not put himself in a worse place.”
Brady threw for 311 yards in final week’s 24-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings. His lone landing go went to Josh Gordon, who has 30 receptions over the previous seven video games. Working again James White stays Brady’s prime goal — he had seven catches for 92 yards towards Minnesota to spice up his team-high complete to 74 receptions.
Brady wants one landing go to interrupt a tie with Peyton Manning (579) for probably the most in league historical past, playoffs included. He’ll have to be cautious of Miami defensive finish Cameron Wake, who has registered 10.5 sacks in 18 video games towards New England.
Rookie operating again Sony Michel may see a heavy workload towards a Miami run protection that ranks 30th within the league with a median of 144.7 yards allowed per sport. He had his first 100-yard sport within the NFL in Week Four towards the Dolphins, dashing for 112 yards on a season-high 25 carries.
“It is a lot totally different staff than we noticed eight weeks in the past,” mentioned Patriots head coach Invoice Belichick. “They’ve completed an excellent job of taking part in good situational soccer. Clearly, well-coached.”