The Dolphins are playing for pride, while the Patriots could be playing for home field advantage in the AFC Playoffs. The Patriots won the first meeting between these two games in Miami, 23-16, just four weeks ago. Here is a look at the matchups in this game:
When the Dolphins have the ball: The Dolphins are going to come out running the ball with Reggie Bush and Lamar Miller against a Patriots’ D that is giving up 105.5 yards rushing per game and 4.0 yards per carry so far this year. The Dolphins need to have a good running game to set up play action passes down the field from Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill has done a good job of protecting the football lately and that will have to continue this Sunday if the Dolphins are going to make a serious run at winning this game. Brian Hartline, Davone Bess and Anthony Fasano are going to have to step up this Sunday and make some plays down the field in the passing game.
When the Patriots have the ball: If the Patriots have something to play for still (they would likely need a Colts’ win over the Texans at 1 o’clock), then they are going to come out with all of their guns a blazing. The Dolphins’ front seven will have to slow down RB Stevan Ridley, while still getting a lot of pressure on Tom Brady. That will be easier said than done as the Patriots are averaging 134.5 yards rushing per game and 4.2 yards per carry. They are also throwing for 292.4 yards per game. The secondary is going to need to step up if they are going to deal with Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez this Sunday.
PREDICTION: PATRIOTS 30, DOLPHINS 16