Is this the headline we will read come Monday morning? Is it the headline we want to read?
New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins
Sun Life Stadium – Miami Gardens, Florida
Sunday, January 3rd
1:00 PM EST on CBS
What to watch for:
“To lose or not to lose…that is the question”
. There has been much talk this week of whether or not the Miami Dolphins should lose Sunday’s game to the New England Patriots on purpose, in order to gain a better draft pick. I say, no way! We should never purposefully lose a game, especially against our hated division rival, the Patriots. New England will be coming to Sun Life Stadium for the final game of the regular season, and I say we need to make sure they leave knowing whose home this really is.
This game looks to be a statement game for both teams. The Patriots are looking to make a statement that they are the kings of the AFC by beating the Phins and securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs as well as completing a sweep of Miami, leaving them at 0-6 in the AFC East. The Dolphins, on the other hand, are playing for pride and to become a spoiler for the Patriots. They are looking to defeat New England and at least have 1 win in their division. They also want to make a statement to the NFL that the Miami Dolphins aren’t totally dead…that they can still pull off a victory against one of the best teams in the NFL.
The Patriots have the #2 ranked pass offense in the league and the 29th ranked rushing offense in the league, so expect Tom Brady to give the Dolphins a heavy dose of passing, though we may see a decent amount of rushing against the poor rushing defense of Miami, as the Patriots give their backups some reps, since both their #1 & #2 rushers are out. On the other side of the ball, the Dolphins would be smart to rush against the Patriots, behind a strong Lamar Miller and an up and coming Jay Ajayi, but if recent history continues, the Phins will get behind early and force themselves to throw more. If the Dolphins O-line can give Ryan Tannehill some time, this game may become a high scoring shootout between Tannehill & Brady.
The Patriots have the 8th ranked passing defense and the 11th ranked rushing defense. If the Dolphins o-line plays as it has been playing – atrociously – Ryan Tannehill and the offense may have their work cut out for them. On the other hand, the Dolphins D has been having trouble with stopping the run and the pass. It is going to take an unusually strong showing from this struggling defense to stop the dominant Patriots offense. That being said, this game might come down to the wire with both teams depending on their special teams to make the difference.
Ultimately, this game is going to go one of two ways; either a close shootout won by a field goal, or a blowout by the Patriots. I hope and am predicting the former.
Patriots – 34 Dolphins – 31