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
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
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
Individual Skill Position Stats:
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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
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