New England Patriots (6-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-6)
1:00 pm EST, CBS
85 degrees, 40% chance of T-storms
Line: Patriots -17, Over/Under 51.5
Team Offensive Rankings
Patriots - 1st total offense (431.2), 7th rush offense (141.7), 1st pass offense (289.5), 1st scoring offense (38.3)
Dolphins - 21st total offense (325), 18th rush offense (104.5), 16th pass offense (220.5), 13th scoring offense (21.3)
Team Defensive Rankings
Patriots - 2nd total defense (257), 5th rush defense (78.3), 4th pass defense (178.7), 6th scoring defense (15.3)
Dolphins - 23rd total defense (352.2), 31st rush defense (168.5), 6th pass defense (183.7), 29th scoring defense (30.3)
Patriots: TE Benjamin Watson, OL Wesley Britt, DL Kareem Brown, LB Eric Alexander, S Mel Mitchell, RB Sammy Morris, and DL Mike Wright
Dolphins: RB Lorenzo Booker, S Travares Tillman, LB Abraham Wright, DT Jesse Mahelona, DL Vonnie Holliday, DE Rob Ninkovich, DT Sam Rayburn, and DT Anthony Bryant
3 Absolute Keys to the Game
1. Stay committed to the run. Sure, New England's only allowing 78 yards per game on the ground. But teams also aren't staying committed to the ground game. They do allow 4 yards per carry on the ground, so there is room to run. The Dolphins must, regardless of the score, stay committed to Ronnie in order to keep this game from getting potentially ugly.
2. Pressure, pressure, pressue. The Dolphins have got to apply pressure to Tom Brady and not allow him to have all day to throw. This is how the Dolphins caused Brady's poor play in the past. Do they have it in them this time around? If they want to have any chance in hell, they have must.
3. Get off the field on third down. Every week I say this, but it's never been as important as this week. History shows that these two teams must be able to hold their opponent on 3rd downs. In the last 17 meetings, 13 have been won by the team who converted a higher percentage of 3rd downs. Simple logic also says that the Dolphins must hold on 3rd downs. If you give the Pats fewer chances, you give yourself a better shot at pulling this one out.
Prediction: I'll be rooting our Dolphins on and will be praying for them to pull this one off, but they will have to play perfect football to pull this off. Until I see them play good football, I can't predict them playing perfect football. So I'll say Pats win 34-20.
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