A Week 17 rematch between two teams that look nothing like they did in the Week 2 original is on the schedule for the AFC East Sunday afternoon. The Miami Dolphins, who were still trying to find their identity back then, welcome the New England Patriots, who were starting backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo then using backup Jacoby Brissett when Garoppolo was injured all in place of the suspended Tom Brady. In the Week 17 matchup, the 100th all time meeting between the two franchises, New England will have Brady under center, while the Dolphins, who have found starting running back Jay Ajayi to be their identity, will be using backup quarterback Matt Moore as starter Ryan Tannehill misses his third straight game with a knee injury.
In other words, everything about these two familiar opponents seems different this weekend. This meeting, the second-straight regular season finale in Miami for the two clubs, has another difference as well: both teams are heading to the Playoffs. The Patriots will reach the postseason as the AFC East division champion, their eighth straight time with that title, but the Dolphins beat the preseason prognostications to claim a Wildcard position this season.
The Week 17 meeting does carry some weight with it, despite both teams already being locked into their roles in the postseason. With a win, the Patriots will lock themselves into the top seed in the conference, giving them home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Miami, meanwhile, could move into the fifth seed if they were to win and the Kansas City Chiefs lose later on Sunday.
How will this game play out? The experts have all made their predictions for Sunday’s matchup. SB Nation has this game going to the Patriots by a six to two result of their eight-person panel.
CBS Sports is even more in New England’s corner this weekend, coming in at seven to one in favor of the Boston franchise.
In fact, using the NFLPickWatch.com database, the Patriots have been predicted to win in 92 percent of the picks from around the web, with 98 picks used in the database as of this article.
If the Dolphins pull off the upset, the other side of their move into the fifth seed would have to have the San Diego Chargers come out on top of the Chiefs. The same set of experts predictions for that game are:
- SB Nation - 6-of-8 Chiefs win
- CBS Sports - 8-of-8 Chiefs win
- ESPN - 8-of-9 Chiefs win
- Fox Sports - 3-of-5 Chiefs win
- NFL pick Watch - 91% Chiefs win
The Dolphins seem to have a uphill battle in front of them if they want to move into the fifth position. No matter how either of these games turns out, however, the Dolphins will be playing next week against either the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Houston Texans in the first Playoff game for Miami since 2008.
Each week, we give you a chance to make your own prediction for how the Dolphins will do in their game. Here is our weekly prediction widget, where you can enter what you think will be the final score. Feel free to discuss your predictions in the comments as well.