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GAME TIME: 8:30 PM EST on Monday, Oct 4th. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN TV and on Sirius radio 124, 125 and 126.

PLACE: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL.

WEATHER FORECAST: Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high of 88 and a low around 78. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

FIELD CONDITIONS: Sun Life Stadium's grass field should be in good shape, but the baseball diamond is supposed to make a reappearance this week, hopefully for the final time this year.

STANDINGS & STATS: The Dolphins are now 2-1 and tied with the Patriots and Jets for the lead in the AFC East, although if the season were to end today, the Jets would win the AFC East because of their superior division record.

Dolphins       Pts/Game  Rank   Patriots       Pts/Game  Rank
Scored          17.3      23    Scored          30.0       1
Allowed         17.0      11    Allowed         27.3      28

Dolphins       Yds/Game  Rank   Patriots       Yds/Game  Rank
Total Offense:	 319      18    Total Defense:   379      27
      Rushing:   112      15          vs Rush:   119      20
      Passing:	 207      18          vs Pass:   260      25

Patriots                        Dolphins
Total Offense:	 371       7    Total Defense:   311      12
      Rushing:   123      10          vs Rush:   117      19
      Passing:   247      10          vs Pass:   193       9

Sacks		Made (Avg/G)	Allowed (Avg/G)
Dolphins          6    2.0         7      2.3
Patriots          5    1.7         2      0.7

Turnover differential:
Dolphins         +1
Patriots          0

Individual Skill Position Stats:
Dolphins                        
QB:   QB Henne:         56-93-659-3-1-88.1
Rush: RB Brown:               37-199-5.4-1
Rush: RB Williams:            35-120-3.4-0
Rec:  WR Marshall:           22-290-13.2-1
Rec:  WR Bess:               13-149-11.5-0
Rec:  WR Hartline:            8-112-14.0-1

Patriots    
QB:   QB Brady:        66-98-758-8-2-109.1
Rush: RB Green-Ellis:         31-139-4.5-1
Rush: RB Taylor:               25-98-3.9-0
Rec:  WR Welker:              18-147-8.2-3
Rec:  TE Hernandez:          13-211-16.2-0
Rec:  WR Moss:                9-139-15.4-3

Legend 
     QBs: completions-attempts-yards-touchdowns-ints-rating
     RBs: rushes-yards-average-touchdowns
     WRs: receptions-yards-average-touchdowns
HISTORY: The Dolphins are 50-39 vs the Patriots, but have only won 3 of the last 8 meetings. The last time the Dolphins and the Patriots met in Miami, the Dolphins won 22-21 in a very close game that was ultimately decided when Channing Crowder intercepted Tom Brady with 35 seconds left in the 4th quarter.

INJURIES:

DOLPHINS: DE Jared Odrick (fibula) and G John Jerry (illness) did not practice on Thursday, while LB Channing Crowder (groin) was limited in practice. T Jake Long (knee) fully participated in practice.

PATRIOTS: T Nick Kaczur (back), RB Fred Taylor (Toe), CB Terrence Wheatley (foot) did not participate in practice on Thursday, while QB Tom Brady (shoulder) fully participated in practice.

DOLPHINS' STARTERS:

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 - 82 Brian Hartline       ILB - 52 Channing Crowder
TE - 80 Anthony Fasano       ILB - 58 Karlos Dansby
LT - 77 Jake Long            WLB - 91 Cameron Wake
LG - 68 Richie Incognito     LCB - 21 Vontae Davis
C  - 67 Joe Berger           RCB - 32 Jason Allen
RG - 74 John Jerry           SS  - 37 Yeremiah Bell
RT - 72 Vernon Carey         FS  - 30 Chris Clemons

K -   5 Dan Carpenter        P   -  2 Brandon Fields

PR - 15 Davone Bess          KR  - 38 Patrick Cobbs
NOTES: It looks like Jared Odrick will still be out, so it will be Paul Soliai and Randy Starks on the defensive line again. However, John Jerry may be back and it also looks like Channing Crowder and Ikaika Alama-Francis will both return this week.
PATRIOTS' STARTERS: 

Offense:                      Defense:
QB - 12 Tom Brady             RDE - 99 Mike Wright
RB - 21 Fred Taylor           NT  - 75 Vince Wolfork
FB - 34 Sammy Morris          LDE - 92 Gerard Warren
WR - 81 Randy Moss            OLB - 95 Tully Banta-Cain
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 - 63 Dan Connolly          LCB - 28 Darius Butler
C  - 67 Dan Koppen            RCB - 32 Devin McCourty
RG - 61 Stephen Neal          SS  - 31 Brandon Meriweather
RT - 76 Sebastion Vollmer     FS  - 36 James Sanders

K  -  3 Stephen Gostkowski    P   - 14 Zoltan Mesko

PR - 11 Julian Edelman        KR  - 19 Brandon Tate
NOTES: The official depth charts list Fred Taylor as the starter at RB, but BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been playing better and Taylor has not practiced this week. T Nick Kazcur is still out.

KEY MATCHUPS:

  1. Dolphins vs Themselves: Against the Jets, the Dolphins got off to a slow start, digging themselves into a hole early and playing from behind for most of the game. If the Dolphins are to be a playoff contender, they need to play hard for the full 60 minutes of every game - not just for selected parts.
  2. Dolphins' pass coverage vs Patriots' Tight Ends: The Dolphins have given up a lot of yards and points to opposing tight ends this year, while the Patriots have discovered two outstanding rookie tight ends.
  3. Dan Henning vs Corwin Brown: Brown is the Patriots' defensive coordinator who finds himself without a strong group of players. Dan Henning has been under increasing criticism for trying too hard to fool opposing defenses when they don't need to be fooled.
  4. Cameron Wake vs Sebastion Vollmer: Wake was good in the first two games, but pretty much disappeared against the Jets. For Miami to have any hope of slowing down the Patriots' offense, the Dolphins must resurrect their pass rush.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Chad Henne had a breakout game against the Jets in terms of yards, completions and touchdowns. But he also threw an interception in the endzone at the end of the game to kill Miami's last hope. Brandon Marshall also had an incredible game, but has been criticized for not producing more at the end of the game. Both players will get another chance this week to produce.

On defense, Miami had no sacks last week against the Jets and this, more than any other single stat, tells us why Miami lost. It will be up to Cam Wake and Koa Misi to generate more pressure on Brady. And Jason Allen will be back in the spotlight after his two major mistakes against the Jets last week, especially if he gets matched up against Randy Moss.

The Patriots' offense has not changed much since Wes Welker arrived in New England, so Tom Brady's favorite targets will be Welker and Randy Moss. But the Patriots have two rookie tight ends who have been turning a lot of heads - Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski have getting more than their share of passes. Also, with Fred Taylor out, BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been the main running back for the Patriots.

The Patriots' defense has been very poor this year, especially at cornerback. Last week, the Bills - who have the worst offense in the league - were able to rack up 374 yards against the Patriots. Right now, safety Pat Chung is the Patriots' best defensive player, but they will need a lot more out of their cornerbacks Darius Butler and Devin McCourty and out of their linebackers, especially Rob Ninkovich and Gary Guyton.

MY ANALYSIS:

The Patriots' reign as the undisputed leaders of the AFC East is over. While Tom Brady is still one of the best quarterbacks in football and they still have Wes Welker and Randy Moss, the Patriots have a very porous defense this year.

Last week, the Bills gained 134 yards rushing at 5.6 ypc against the Patriots and averaged 8.3 yards per attempt passing. Even with this performance, the Bills are still last in the NFL in total offense, which shows why the Patriots' defense is 28th in points allowed and 27th in yards allowed.

The Patriots' offense, on the other hand, is 1st in the NFL in scoring and 7th in total yards. They are more balanced this year than they have been in the recent past, but the core of the Patriots' offense is still Randy Moss and Wes Welker.

The Dolphins, for their part, have shown that they can both run and pass the ball. Last week, their passing attack came alive as they were forced to play from behind for most of the game, as Chad Henne had a career-high 363 yards passing with 2 touchdowns and Brandon Marshall caught 10 passes for 166 yards.

Miami's defense is better than the Patriots', but they had a lot of trouble last week controlling the edges against the Jets and have repeatedly been vulnerable to passes to opposing tight ends. Since the Patriots have shown they can work the outside and throw to their tight ends, the Dolphins need to play better in those two areas to keep the Patriots' offense in check.

When the Dolphins have the ball this week, they will probably start with a conservative approach that is more balanced than the approach we saw last week against the Jets. The Patriots' run defense is much worse than the Jets' and Miami will want to control the ball, rather than get into a passing duel with Tom Brady.

So expect the Dolphins to run the ball, focusing more on the outside and to work the short passing game. They will attempt to control the clock and time of possession, keeping the ball away from Brady and wearing down the defense.

And despite criticism from fans and pundits, the Wildcat will retain its place in the Dolphins' playbook. While it would be nice to see Tyler Thigpen get a chance to run the Wildcat, I don't expect the Dolphins will do that this week.

The Dolphins should be able to move the ball effectively against the Patriots' defense and control the clock and time of possession. The Patriots' outside linebackers and cornerbacks are suspect and Miami should be able to take advantage of them.

When the Patriots have the ball, I believe they will attempt to score early and often and build up a large lead, forcing Miami out of their conservative gameplan. I would expect the Patriots to come out throwing early, especially to their tight ends, to try and get the lead and force Miami to play from behind.

The Dolphins' defense can keep the Patriots' offense from running away with the game early, but they must be alert and play their best from the opening kickoff to the final whistle. They can not afford to start slow, like they did last week.

Ultimately, I believe that this game will boil down to whether or not the Dolphins can find the stamina and focus to play a full 60 minutes of football. The Dolphins are, on the whole, a better team than the Patriots and can beat them if they don't make too many mistakes and don't let their concentration lapse.

Since Tony Sparano came to Miami, the Dolphins have usually fixed their problems from their previous failures, only to discover new failures. This week, I would expect them to come out playing very hard in the first quarter, but I would be concerned about their play late in the game.

If Miami can avoid giving up too many receptions to New England's tight ends, secure the edges of their defense and keep focused for 60 minutes, they should beat the Patriots on Monday night.

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 play-by-play information.

Related Info:
     
   
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