The Miami Dolphins currently sit at 5-7 at the bottom of the AFC East. Miami is 1-2 in the division, having split games against the New York Jets and taken an 18-point loss to the New England Patriots in Foxborough. The Patriots will look to sweep the Dolphins in 2017 with a week 14 contest on the road in Miami and stay undefeated in the AFC East. Here are the Week 14 New England Patriots Keys to Victory.
Showtime for Allen and Hollister
The Fins have had trouble defending tight ends this season. Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates combined for 91 yards and a touchdown in week two. Jared Cook racked up 126 yards on eight receptions in week nine. O.J. Howard had 52 yards and a touchdown on only three receptions in week 11. And of course, Rob Gronkowski dropped 82 yards and two touchdowns on the Dolphins in week 12. Unfortunately, the Patriots can’t count on a repeat performance from their star tight end because of a one-game suspension due to his actions in week 13 against the Buffalo Bills.
This means that the Patriots offense will have to turn to Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister to fill in. Allen’s performance has been sub-par all season, and some thought that the signing of Martellus Bennett would light a fire under the sixth-year veteran. Allen has a whopping 40 yards in five receptions for the entire season. The rookie Hollister has been equally ineffective, posting 37 yards on three receptions this season. Without Gronkowski and Bennett to take advantage of the tight end-friendly Dolphins defense, Allen and Hollister will need to overcome their production struggles to keep the Patriots clicking.
All Eyes on Suh
There is no love lost between the Dolphins defensive personnel and…really any opposing quarterback. Remember three years ago when Ndamukong Suh (with the Detroit Lions at the time) stomped on Aaron Rodgers‘ ankle and only received a one-game suspension that he didn’t even end up having to serve?
What about last Sunday when the Patriots offensive line gave up three sacks to a Buffalo team that was averaging only 1.4 sacks per game going into week 13?
The Patriots are going to the playoffs this year, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. The Patriots are going to want their NFL MVP candidate quarterback at 100% for the postseason. David Andrews has returned to the field after a prolonged illness, but the offensive line is going to have to do a much better job of protecting Tom Brady this week.
Pressures and Picks
The Patriots defense registered seven sacks on Matt Moore in week 12. Granted, the defense was playing at home against the second-string quarterback. But they demonstrated that they have the chops to beat the offensive line and wreak havoc on the Miami backfield. That disruption is going to be vital to the Patriots success in week 14.
The top three teams in terms of interceptions thrown are the Cleveland Browns, the Denver Broncos…and the Miami Dolphins. Miami quarterbacks have thrown 17 interceptions in 13 games. The Patriots defense currently ranks #9 in interceptions and #8 in passes defended, despite getting off to an abysmal start. Jay Cutler has thrown five interceptions in three games against the New England Patriots and doesn’t have a single notch in the win column against the Pats. Between the pass rush and a reinvigorated secondary, the Patriots may extend their seven-game streak of keeping opponents to 20 points or fewer.
The Patriots and Dolphins play on Monday night in Miami. Tom Brady has a career record of 15-6 in Monday night games.
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