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Opposing Player Spotlight: Week 17, New England Patriots

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The Dolphins are heading into the final week of the 2019 season facing off against one of the league’s best receiving backs.

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images

And then there was one.

The Miami Dolphins play just one more game in a 2019 season that most fans will be pleased to leave in the rearview mirror. After starting off the year helming the league’s consensus worst team, head coach Brian Flores showed that he is capable of extracting the best from his players, leaving most Dolfans happy with the direction this team is taking heading into the 2020 offseason. But before we get ahead of ourselves, there’s still one game to go, and that means one final iteration of your favorite weekly article here at The Phinsider!

Each week of the 2019 season, I’ve been highlighting one player on the team squaring off with the Miami Dolphins that ‘phins fans should be watching out for. For this final week, that player is New England Patriots running back James White.

Do you have a player recommendation for next week’s spotlight? Let me know on Twitter @HierJustin.

Fact Check: James White

Position: RB

Experience: 6th

Age: 27

Height/Weight: 5’10”, 205 lbs

College: Wisconsin

Stat Review

White is the definition of a “do everything” running back. He’s a capable runner between the tackles, he can bounce a run to the outside with speed and agility, and he’s one of the most efficient and dangerous backs catching passes out of the backfield. This year, he’s averaging a solid 4.0 yards per carry, but it’s his capabilities as a pass catcher that Flores and Miami’s defense needs to look out for.

White has four more receptions (69) than he has carries (65) on the year, a stat that epitomizes his utility as a receiver. He’s currently boasting 612 receiving yards (3rd most among NFL RBs) and four scores though air this year (4th most among NFL RBs).

Key Matchups

Over recent years, the Dolphins have been one of the league’s poorer teams at bottling up opposing receiving backs, and this year has seen little improvement in that regard. When the Dolphins and Patriots met back in Week 2, the ‘Phins yielded 67 receiving yards to New England’s running backs. Miami also has given up big games through the air to Austin Ekeler (62 yds, 1 TD), Le’Veon Bell (8 rec, 55 yds), Nick Chubb (3 rec, 58 yds), and Miles Sanders (5 rec, 1 TD).

For the Dolphins to limit White, Flores will be counting on a combination of Jerome Baker, Sam Eguavoen, and Raekwon McMillan to cover the 27-year old playmaker out of the backfield. Though Baker, Equavoen, and McMillan have seen steady improvement in a variety of areas throughout the year, stifling White and the rest of Tom Brady’s offense could go a long way to raising the confidence of Miami’s coaching staff and front office regarding the team’s linebacker position going into free agency and the 2020 NFL Draft.