On Sunday, the Patriots will take on the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Patriots (13-2) need to win against the Dolphins (10-5) to secure the number one overall seed in the AFC playoffs. Last year, the Dolphins beat the Patriots in the final week of the regular season costing New England home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Patriots will certainly look to avoid a repeat performance this time around. This AFC East divisional showdown will kick off at 1:00 PM. ET.
The Patriots beat the Dolphins earlier in the season with Jimmy Garoppollo at quarterback. However, the Patriots and the Dolphins are both different teams now. Brady is back, while Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill is sidelined with an injury.
In their week two matchup, the Dolphins rushing attack was highly ineffective. Since then, the Dolphins rushing attack has exploded. Rookie running back, Jay Ajayi, leads the Dolphins ground attack with three rushing performances of over 200 yards this season.
Ajayi’s emergence in the rushing attack has helped carry the Dolphins offense. The Dolphins’ rushing attack ranks 9th according to NFL Stats. Miami isn’t just consistently running the ball for short yardage either, they’re also breaking off huge runs.
This season, Miami’s rushing attack has 12 rushes of 20+ yards, and they’re tied with Buffalo and Kansas City for most rushes of 40+ yards on the season. While the Dolphins have been explosive rushing the ball, they’ve also had moments of carelessness. The Dolphins are tied for the league lead in rushing fumbles; they’ve fumbled 11 times this season.
Last week against the Bills, the Dolphins rushed for 261 yards on 38 carries. Spearheading this attack, Ajayi rushed for 206 yards on 32 carries. His longestnrush on the day was 57 yards. If the Patriots are to emerge victorious from Miami, then they’ll need to stop the surging Ajayi, who’s clearly peaking at the right time of the season.
The Patriots ranks 8th in total defense according to NFL Stats. The Patriots surrender a little over 329 total yards per game. In comparison, the Dolphins rank 30th in total yards per game. A large part of their success comes from stopping the run. The Patriots rank 3rd in run defense according to NFL Stats. The Patriots allow about 89 yards rushing per game. New England has only surrendered six rushing touchdowns on the season. Most impressive of all, the Patriots have allowed only three rushes of 20+ yards all season.
Last week against the Jets, the Patriots allowed 111 yards rushing on 29 carries. The Jets’ longest run for the day was a mere 12 yards. The Patriots held the Jets’ leading rusher to 60 yards on 15 carries. If the Patriots are to have success against Miami, then they’ll need to neutralize Ajayi as a rushing threat. Ajayi will seriously test the Patriots’ defensive front this weekend.
The Patriots surrender the fewest points per game according to NFL Stats. New England surrenders an average of 15.7 points per game. That’s more than a single point better than the next best team (Seattle allows 17.9 points per game). In comparison, the Dolphins rank 14th in the league allowing 23 point per game on average. Expect the Patriots to keep the Dolphins’ running backs and receivers out of the end zone.
Dolphins Vs Patriots Betting Lines
The last few times the Patriots have traveled to Miami they’ve struggled. Brady has played well in Miami over his career, but he’s also had some Un-Brady like performances. With the AFC’s number one seed on the line, expect the Patriots to play with a high degree of intensity. Last year, the patriots failed to close out the season in Miami and it cost them big in the playoffs when they had to travel to Denver, where they lost to the eventual champs. Don’t expect a repeat performance. Go with the Patriots on the road.
Play: Patriots -9 @ BetOnline.ag