The Miami Dolphins are headed north for the regular season’s final road game and unlike a recent trip to Buffalo, the weather won’t be an issue against the New England Patriots.
With temperatures expected to be better than they were in Miami on Christmas, attention turns to coach Mike McDaniel’s offense, and how it can score against Bill Belichick’s defense while starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is sidelined with a concussion.
“It’s big time on details,” running back Jeff Wilson Jr. said of facing the Patriots. “Big time on zero mistakes and killing yourself and come out and play ball because that’s especially with that defense strived off of, turning turnovers into touchdowns and giving their team points. So we’ve got to eliminate as much of that as possible and come out and be ready to play football.
“They’re always going for the ball. So you’ve got to be very conscientious of it every time you’re touching it, every time you’re carrying it, even when you’re thinking about it, because they go after the ball. And not only do they go after it, they come up with it. So ball protection and security is going to be very big and just honing in on our details.”
Miami puts the ball on the ground roughly once per game, last week Raheem Mostert turned the ball over on a run before halftime against the Green Bay Packers. With that being said, the Dolphins may pepper the running backs with opportunities in hope of avoiding linebackers Matthew Judon and Josh Uche, who headline a New England pass rush that ranks third in the league with 50 sacks this season.
“Relentless,” McDaniel said of Judon and Uche, who have a combined 27 sacks. “I think they have as much disruption as any players that we’ve seen this year into the play. They are guys that get a lot of production, two-and-a-half, three seconds into pass plays, that just really show how that whole defensive unit plays together.
“The back end is very sound allowing for one or two extra hitches for the quarterback in which they take advantage of routinely. So they’re an impressive group. They’re physical, but relentless is the thing that really stands out to me.”