The New England Patriots will play in Miami today in a few short hours and Sun Life Stadium hasn’t been nice for New England.
Tom Brady is just 6-5 against Miami in Miami and it’s always a hard win for the Pats in Miami especially in December.
This game is an important game for both teams. New England can win the division, clinch a playoff spot, and control their own destiny for the #1 seed in the playoffs.
Miami needs the win to stay in the race for a playoff spot, a loss could spell doom to their playoff chances.
New England will need to establish the run in this game. Miami’s passing defense is stout but their run defense isn’t and is an exploitable hole for the Patriots.
Stevan Rdiley had 79 yards in the first meeting and a touchdown after missing almost the entire first half for unknown reasons. This game could be his get out of the doghouse and back in good gracious with Belichick and PatsNation game.
Shane Vereen will also be a key on the ground and in the air. He can run the ball and catch it as good as any back in the league right now. He might pick up quite a few yards in this game on the ground and in the air, and I expect him to have a big game.
But the Pats need their ground game to win this game and take advantage of an area of weakness by the Dolphins. They can’t wait too long to run and can’t give up quickly.
They have to go no huddle in the first half as well. They keep starting games with the huddle offense and they go to half being down a couple scores, at the least the past 3 weeks they have. They bring the no huddle offense out in the 2nd half and score almost at will so I would love to see them do it in the first half and not have such a slow start. One of these games it will catch up with them so hopefully they have been working on playing a complete game.
On defense the Patriots need to blitz.
In the first meeting the Patriots wasn’t successful at getting pressure with no blitzes in the first half but in the second half they began to pressure Tannehill on almost every QB drop. As a result Tannehill and the Dolphins began to turn the ball over. The Dolphins offensive line has been worse than New England and the Patriots should get pressure on Tannehill when they blitz. It is there best chance at stopping the Dolphins passing attack.
The run defense needs to stay sharp in this game and make sure Miami can’t control the ball. I want to see another good game from the Pats run defense like they were against Cleveland last week. I don’t think Miami will hurt New England on the ground but they need to keep them one – dimensional.
The biggest thing is how will the secondary play? They were great against the Broncos and horrible against the Browns. They stopped everybody pretty much on the Broncos team with a few plays to their backup tight end Tamme and one big play to WR Thomas. Against Cleveland they let both weapons, Cameron and Gordon destroy them. Talib couldn’t stop Gordon and nobody could stop Cameron on the defense. But hopefully New England learned something in that game to help them prepare for Miami – keep Gregory out of man coverage against a gifted tight end and keep Talib off of speedsters for now. Talib is the best corner on the team with Dennard but New England should protect him for the remainder of the season. They don’t need him trying to run stride for stride with very fast players like Wallace with his hip not 100%. They should keep him on Brian Hartline because Hartline is an important part of their offense and Talib can shut him down. Arrington did good against Wallace the last time and I would match them up again and if it went south, I’d try the rookie Ryan on him.
New England won’t have to worry about all that though if they can keep Tannehill on his back which I believe will be a big key if the Patriots can win the game.