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GAME TIME: 1:00 PM EST on Sunday, Jan 2nd. The game will be broadcast regionally on CBS, on DirecTV channel 704 and on Sirius radio channels 157 and 158.

PLACE: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA

FORECAST: A chance of showers before noon, then a slight chance of showers after 4pm. Patchy fog before 9am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 49. West wind between 5 and 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

FIELD CONDITIONS: Gillette Stadium has a grass surface that should be in decent shape. However, rain showers could make it slippery.

STANDINGS & STATS: The Dolphins are 7-8, in 3rd place in the AFC East while the Patriots are alone in first place in the AFC East with a 13-2 record. The Patriots have clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Dolphins       Pts/Game  Rank   Patriots       Pts/Game  Rank
Scored          17.7      30    Scored          32.0       1
Allowed         19.7      10    Allowed         20.4      13

Dolphins       Yds/Game  Rank   Patriots       Yds/Game  Rank
Total Offense:	 328      21    Total Defense:   374      27
      Rushing:   107      20          vs Rush:   112      16
      Passing:	 221      14          vs Pass:   262      30

Patriots                        Dolphins
Total Offense:	 354      11    Total Defense:   297       3
      Rushing:   119      12          vs Rush:    95       6
      Passing:   235      12          vs Pass:   202       7

Sacks		Made (Avg/G)	Allowed (Avg/G)
Dolphins         39    2.6        33      2.2
Patriots         31    2.1        25      1.7

Turnover differential:
Dolphins         -11
Patriots         +27

Individual Skill Position Stats:
QB:   QB Henne:     295-474-3230-15-18-77.1
Rush: RB Brown:               194-720-3.7-5
Rush: RB Williams:            153-668-4.4-2
Rec:  WR Marshall:            81-917-11.3-3
Rec:  WR Bess:                76-785-10.3-4
Rec:  TE Fasano:              39-528-13.5-4

QB:   QB Brady:     314-476-3701-34-4-109.8
Rush: RB Green-Ellis:        209-928-4.4-12
Rush: RB Woodhead:             95-528-5.6-5
Rec:  WR Welker:               86-848-9.9-7
Rec:  WR Branch:              48-706-14.7-5
Rec:  TE Hernandez:           45-563-12.5-6

     QBs: completions-attempts-yards-touchdowns-ints-rating
     RBs: rushes-yards-average-touchdowns
     WRs: receptions-yards-average-touchdowns
HISTORY: The Dolphins hold a 50-40 overall record against the Patriots since 1966 and are 4-6 in the last 10 games against New England. The last time they played in New England, the Patriots beat Miami 27-17. The last time Miami won in New England was in 2008, when Miami debuted the Wildcat and crushed the Patriots 38-13.


Out:          LB Karlos Dansby (toe)
              TE Anthony Fasano (knee)
              OT Lydon Murtha (head)
Questionable: CB Nolan Carroll (head)

Doubtful:     DT Ron Brace (elbow)
              OG Dan Connolly (concussion)
              DE Mike Wright (concussion)
Questionable: LB Tully Banta-Cain (groin)
              WR Deion Branch (knee)
              DE Jermaine Cunningham (calf)
              TE Aaron Hernandez (hip)
              DE Myron Pryor (back)
Probable:     CB Kyle Arrington (elbow)
              CB Devin McCourty (rib)
              QB Tom Brady (shoulder)


Offense:		     Defense:
QB -  7 Chad Henne           LE  - 70 Kendall Langford
RB - 23 Ronnie Brown         NT  - 96 Paul Soliai
FB - 36 Lousaka Polite       RE  - 94 Randy Starks
WR - 19 Brandon Marshall     SLB - 55 Koa Misi
WR - 15 Davone Bess          ILB - 52 Channing Crowder
TE - 88 Jeron Mastrud        ILB - 51 Tim Dobbins
LT - 77 Jake Long            WLB - 91 Cameron Wake
LG - 67 Joe Berger           LCB - 21 Vontae Davis
C  - 68 Richie Incognito     RCB - 24 Sean Smith
RG - 74 John Jerry           SS  - 37 Yeremiah Bell
RT - 79 Pat McQuistan        FS  - 30 Chris Clemons

K -   5 Dan Carpenter        P   -  2 Brandon Fields

PR - 15 Davone Bess          KR  - 28 Nolan Carroll
NOTES: It looks like Richie Incognito has successfully made the transition to center, but with McQuistan having to fill in for Murtha at right tackle, it's not clear whether Joe Berger or Ray Feinga will start at left guard. Jeron Mastrud is listed behind Anthony Fasano as the starting tight end, but Mickey Shuler is the only tight end other than Fasano who has caught any passes this year. Tim Dobbins continues to start for Karlos Dansby.

Offense:                      Defense:
QB - 12 Tom Brady             RDE - 71 Brandon Deaderick
RB - 42 Benjarvis Green-Ellis NT  - 75 Vince Wolfork
RB - 39 Danny Woodhead        LDE - 92 Gerard Warren
WR - 19 Brandon Tate          OLB - 52 Dane Fletcher
WR - 83 Wes Welker            ILB - 51 Jerod Mayo
TE - 82 Alge Crumpler         ILB - 59 Gary Guyton
LT - 72 Matt Light            OLB - 50 Rob Ninkovich
LG - 70 Logan Mankins         LCB - 27 Kyle Arrington
C  - 67 Dan Koppen            RCB - 32 Devin McCourty
RG - 69 Quinn Ojinnaka        SS  - 31 Brandon Meriweather
RT - 76 Sebastion Vollmer     FS  - 25 Pat Chung

K  -  5 Shayne Graham         P   - 14 Zoltan Mesko

PR - 11 Julian Edelman        KR  - 19 Brandon Tate
NOTES: There are 8 players on the Patriots' injury list that are either doubtful or questionable and with nothing to play for, I've assumed that none of those players will start. In fact, trying to put together a starting roster for the Patriots is practically impossible. However, I'm reasonably certain that the Patriots will play their important starters for at least a half. After that, all bets are off.


  1. The Dolphins vs Themselves: The Dolphins are still their own worst enemy. In the last game, the Dolphins delivered 4 interceptions (including one that went for a touchdown) and 2 special teams' touchdowns into Patriots' hands.
  2. Cameron Wake vs Sebastion Vollmer: For the Dolphins to have a decent chance to win this game, Cameron Wake will need to get pressure on the Patriots' Quarterbacks (whoever they may be). In the first game this year, Wake was one of Miami's few bright spots.
  3. CB Devin McCourty vs Brandon Marshall: Marshall leads the Dolphins' receivers while Patriots' rookie CB Devin McCourty has 6 interceptions this year.
  4. NT Vince Wolfork vs John Jerry and Pat McQuistan: In the last meeting, Wolfork lined up over the Dolphins' right side and was very disruptive. This time, the Dolphins won't have their starters on that side.


Chad Henne continues to play inconsistently and make poor decisions in crucial situations. Rich Incognito played surprisingly well in his move to center last week, but this week will be more difficult for him, John Jerry and Pat McQuistan as they will likely be lined up against Vince Wolfork.

With Karlos Dansby out again, Tim Dobbins will start at middle linebacker, but someone needs to step up on defense and provide a spark of leadership. Cameron Wake should have a good game, but without production from some other pass rushers, it may not be enough to disrupt the Patriots' offense.

Patriots QB Tom Brady is having an MVP season, but will likely not play the whole game. His backup, Brian Hoyer, is only in his 2nd season, has never started a game in the NFL and has only thrown 2 passes this year. The surprise of the year for New England is running back Danny Woodhead, a football munchkin at 5'8" and 195 pounds, who is averaging 5.6 yards per carry and has scored 6 touchdowns.

The Patriots' defense is not ranked very high in yardage allowed (27th overall, 30th vs the pass), but ranks first in interceptions with 24. Rookie CB Devin McCourty accounts for 6 of those picks, but the Patriots have 6 other defensive players with 2 or more interceptions. Linebacker Jerod Mayo leads the team in tackles with 169, while their leading pass rusher is defensive end Mike Wright, who has 5.5 sacks.

On special teams, Patriots' kickoff returner Brandon Tate has 2 returns for touchdowns, while punt returner Julian Edelman is averaging 12.3 yards per return.


The 91st regular season meeting of the Dolphins and Patriots takes place this Sunday with a game that means very little to either team - at least as far as the 2010 season goes. Of course, both teams would like to win this game for pride's sake, but the outcome will not affect anything for the Patriots and the only thing that this game might determine for the Dolphins is their placement in the 2011 draft.

Of course, while neither team has a lot to gain, both teams do have a lot to lose on Sunday. The Patriots could take a serious injury that would damage their playoff chances, while the Dolphins' coaching staff and some of their players could be looking at the end of their careers with a poor showing.

Unfortunately, playing to avoid certain outcomes does not provide the makings of a good game. Teams play best when they are trying to prove something or accomplish something. When the goal is just to survive or avoid injuries, the games aren't likely to be very interesting or well played.

For Miami, the offense's problem this year has been scoring. While the Dolphins' offense ranks 21st in the league in yards, it ranks 30th in points scored. At least part of the problem that Miami has is turning the ball over, so look for Miami to continue to play conservatively, hoping to keep the game close and win it on defense.

Since the weather is likely to be wet and Anthony Fasano is out, the Dolphins will want to try and establish their running game. And with the Dolphins down to their third string right tackle, look for them to run more to the left behind Jake Long.

The Patriots will hope to force Miami to pass by clogging the line with Vince Wilfork and letting Jerod Mayo get to the ball carrier. If Miami can put some effective blocking on Mayo, they stand a chance of establishing the running game, but with the injuries to the offensive line, this will be very difficult.

Unfortunately, with Fasano out and the New England defense's talent for interceptions, Miami doesn't have much choice but to run the ball. We will probably see the Wildcat make a substantial appearance on Sunday, but the success of it is problematical.

On defense, the Dolphins' best hope is that the pass rush can hurry Brady. The Patriots' offense is based on the pass and while their running game is decent, it is Brady that has driven the Patriots to be the highest scoring team in the NFL. It is likely that some of Brady's best receivers will be sidelined, but he still has plenty of weapons to throw to and unless Miami gets consistent pressure on Brady, it will be very difficult to stop the Patriots offense.

The best thing that can happen for the Dolphins on Sunday is to have the Patriots hold back their injured starters and for Miami to get pressure on Brady any way they can. Unfortunately, with Dansby out, Miami will have trouble covering some of the Patriots' most dangerous weapons, specifically RB Danny Woodhead and TE Rob Gronkowski.

Overall, if Miami can establish a strong running game and can pressure Brady, they stand a chance to win this game. But they will have to come out very aggressively and attack hard from the first play. They can not afford to get behind early and have to work from behind to catch up.

And it goes without saying that Miami must not turn the ball over, regardless of the weather. The Patriots' defense has feasted on turnovers this year and Miami will not stand a chance if they give the ball to the Patriots deep in Miami territory.

If the Dolphins can be very aggressive, control the tempo of this game, avoid turnovers and pressure Brady, they can win. But it will not be an easy game.


To watch the game on TV, you may go to one of the sports bars listed on my "Places To Watch" web page.

To listen to the game live over the Internet, you must now pay the NFL for the privelege. They are charging $9.99 (US) per month or $39.99 for the season for something you used to get for free. If you want to sign up for that, go to the following link NFL Field Pass.

Also, here is a list of some websites that have live scores and updates. Both the Official Website and NFL.com have almost live applications that run in your browser and give you current stats and play-by-play information.

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