Patriots In Position To Clinch Division Against Dolphins
The New England Patriots are in full control of the AFC East with their 10-3 record, but this weekend they face off with the second place Miami Dolphins, who still have a shot at winning the division. It is a long shot however as they must win-out with the Patriots losing three straight games, but the Patriots clinch the division with a simple win this weekend over their divisional opponent. The Dolphins currently have a 7-6 record, and are on the outside looking in when it comes to making the playoffs via a wild card spot.
New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins
Sun Life Stadium – Miami, FL
Odds: Patriots -2.5
What To Watch For From The New England Patriots
Despite being on a three game win-streak and beating the Denver Broncos in overtime recently, the Patriots enter this game as just a 2.5-point sports book favorite. Yes this game is being played in Miami, and the Dolphins are on their own two game win-streak, but the Patriots have Tom Brady under center, whose proven to be successful no matter who makes up his receiving corps. The Patriots are without Rob Gronkowski for the remainder of the 2013 season, meaning Brady will likely focus on Danny Amendola and leading receiver Julian Edelman this coming weekend. The run game for the Patriots doesn’t get the credit or attention it deserves as they have a two-back system that features Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount. The reason the run game has been so successful as of late is because the team tends to go with the hot hand and give the majority of carries to whoever is performing best at that moment.
What To Watch For From The Miami Dolphins
Defense is one thing the Dolphins have going for them week in and week out. They give up an average of just 21 points against per game, but the reason they are still around .500 is because their offense scores just 22 points per contest. Ryan Tannehill hasn’t quite been the franchise saving quarterback many though he was after his rookie season, but the second year quarterback has improved his completion rate by 4%, and has 20 touchdowns compared to the 12 he threw last season. The offense simply hasn’t taken off this year for the Dolphins, which isn’t surprising considering the newly acquired Mike Wallace is catching just around 50% of the passes thrown his way. Lamar Miller has been unable to be anything spectacular in the run game as the team’s leading rusher is averaging four yards per carry, with just two total touchdowns.
The Dolphins defense is better than that of the Patriots, but that shouldn’t slow down Brady from having his fourth straight game in which he’s thrown for over 340 yards. The Patriots won without Gronkowski earlier in the year, and although it wasn’t pretty, they proved they could win close games. The Dolphins offense shouldn’t have too much trouble moving the ball Sunday afternoon, but the Patriots simply are too good on offense to drop a game that will clinch them a division title.
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