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
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
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
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
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)
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
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.
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- CB Devin McCourty vs Brandon Marshall: Marshall leads the
Dolphins' receivers while Patriots' rookie CB Devin McCourty has 6
interceptions this year.
- 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
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
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
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.
PLACES TO WATCH:
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