Sunday, December 23, 2007

Patriots-Dolphins: Week 16 Matchup

Here's a rundown of Miami's week sixteen matchup against the New England Patriots:

Where: Gillette Stadium
When: Sunday, 4:15 PM ET

  • Patriots: Questionable - TE Kyle Brady, G Steve Neal, TE Benjamin Watson, G Billy Yates; Probable - QB Tom Brady, S Rodney Harrison
  • Dolphins: Out - LB Channing Crowder; Questionable - RB Jesse Chatman, DT Vonnie Holliday, LB Joey Porter, DE Matt Roth, T L.J. Shelton, DE Jason Taylor, NT Keith Traylor
Positional Breakdown:


Running backs


Offensive line

Defensive line



Special teams


Overall Advantage

Keys to the Game:
  1. Mount an effective short passing game in the face of expected heavy winds. The wind will likely be gusting at game time, so deep passes are probably out of the picture. Cleo Lemon will need to rely on intermediate and short passes that are high percentage in nature. Lorenzo Booker should see plenty of use here.
  2. Don't play scared. I'm sick of seeing teams roll over in front of this Patriots team. There's no chance of beating them unless opposing teams bring everything they have and don't give up just because they fall behind by one score. The defense needs to pressure Brady and bang him around the defensive front seven needs to play stout and stop the run. Most importantly, the defense needs to get to Brady in a hurry. If they stay back and try to cover everyone without any sort of pass rush, Brady will simply hang back in the pocket and pick apart the secondary - he's too good for that. Dom Capers needs to call blitzes all day long.
  3. Don't give up on the run too quickly. This Pats defense can be run on. It is essential to maintain long drives and keep Tom Brady off the field. If Lemon is forced to throw and Miami winds up with multiple three-and-out possessions, then the Pats will blow the game open in a hurry.
Key Players:
  • Patriots: WR Randy Moss - Moss absolutely roasted and toasted Miami the last time they met. This team, the Dolphins secondary has a new look, but it will be hard pressed to come up with better results. Moss is the key to the big play, and stopping him is a top priority.
  • Dolphins: Offensive line - Cleo Lemon is going to have to make several plays in the passing game in order to give Miami a chance. To do so, he needs to have time to go through his progressions. The offensive line play has been slipping a bit over the last month, and they must correct their issues. They will have an opportunity to open some holes in the running game and must take advantage.
It would be a true Christmas miracle for the Dolphins to win this game and achieve the greatest upset in NFL history (in my opinion). If Santa could bring me just one thing this year, it would be a win this Sunday.

Of course, I can't realistically make the Dolphins my pick, so I'm going with the Patriots, 33-11.

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