The Miami Dolphins are down to one last game for the 2021 NFL season, ending the season as they began it with a contest against the New England Patriots. That Week 1 contest featured the Dolphins coming away with a 17-16 win after a late fumble by New England running back Damien Harris at the Miami eight-yard line allowed the Dolphins to kill the clock. The game featured Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones making his NFL debut, throwing for 281 yards with a touchdown on 29-for-39 passing.
Fast forward to Week 18, and the Dolphins are eliminated from the postseason, while the Patriots are locked into the playoffs and have a chance to claim the AFC East title. The Patriots, a year after stumbling to a 7-9 record, have rebounded and are 10-6 with this last game to play. Miami, having gone 10-6 in 2020 but missed the playoffs, were supposed to be the team challenging for the AFC East crown, but are instead 8-8 and just hoping to end the season with a winning record. If the Dolphins do come away with the win on Sunday, it will mark the first time since 2002 and 2003 that the team finished above .500 two consecutive seasons.
The Patriots head into the week with several players on the initial injury report for the game. Defensive back Kyle Dugger, who has a hand injury, was the only player to not practice on Wednesday. Wide receiver Nelson Agholor was one of ten players who were listed as limited for the workout. Agholor is dealing with a concussion, while center David Andrews has a shoulder injury, defensive lineman Christian Barmore has a knee issue, defensive back Cody Davis has a wrist problem, kicker Nick Folk’s left knee is giving him problems, running back Damien Harris has a hamstring injury, linebacker Dont’a Hightower has a knee issue, wide receiver Jakobi Meyers is dealing with a thing issue, safety Adrian Phillips has a knee injury, and tackle Isaiah Wynn has a hip problem. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots approach this game, balancing competition for the division title with rest and preparations for a playoff run.
New England has cornerback Myles Bryant, tackle Yodny Cajuste, and offensive lineman Will Sherman on their reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Dolphins side of the injury report is shorter, with defensive tackle John Jenkins limited on Wednesday with an illness. Also limited were defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah with a quadriceps issue and wide receiver Preston Williams with an illness. Wide receiver DeVante Parker was also limited for the practice as the team gave him some veteran rest time. The team listed tackle Jesse Davis, wide receiver Isaiah Ford, and running back Phillip Lindsay on the report as full participants in the practice. Davis is dealing with knee and elbow issues, Ford has a knee problem, and Lindsay has an ankle injury.
Miami still has cornerback Noah Igbinoghene and safety Sheldrick Redwine on the reserve/COVID-19 list.