The 8th week of the NFL slate kicks off with an AFC East matchup as the New England Patriots play host to the rival Miami Dolphins in a game that a few weeks back looked like a mismatch, but now has taken on a much different look with how well the Fins have played the last two weeks.
Miami since firing Joe Philbin a few weeks ago look like a totally different team, as tight end coach Dan Campbell has energized the team to getting them to playing a lot closer to the potential that many felt they would be at during the summer.
”With the changes that happened, we honestly feel like it was a new season,” Miami linebacker Kelvin Sheppard said. ”That’s from the top down. That’s what our head man stands before us and says. We’ve all bought into that, and that’s truly what we believe.”
Last week Miami built a 41-0 halftime lead on the Texans before cruising to a win to get to 3-3 on the season. Ryan Tannehill and the offense have been more aggressive with Campbell at the helm, and RB Lamar Miller ran all over Houston last week.
If the Dolphins are going to beat New England, it’s critical for Miami to hold onto the ball and keep it out of the hands of the always dangerous Tom Brady and New England’s offense.
The Fins have dropped 12 of 14 to New England, and Campbell knows how big of a boost it would be if they could land the Pats their first loss of the season.
”We really need this win,” Campbell said. ”We’re capable of beating this team. They’re not going to be easy. They never are. You’ve got Tom Brady, you’ve got the great (coach) Bill Belichick.”
The Miami offense is rolling, as they have averaged 937 yards over the last two games after averaging 314.8 in the first four.
Tannehill has thrown six of his 13 touchdowns in the last two and was not intercepted in Sunday’s win. If Miami is going to land the upset, they need those numbers to be duplicated against the Pats.
Last week in a win over the Jets 30-23, Brady threw for 355 yards, and both of his TDs came while going 14 of 17 in the fourth quarter to help erase a four-point deficit.
Rob Gronkowski caught a season-high 11 passes for 108 yards and one of those TDs. He is a big mismatch for the Dolphins, and could have a huge night against Miami.
New England has a huge edge at home, as they have lost once in the last 22 home games – including the playoffs.
Miami is getting closer, but look for Tannehill to make one or two huge mistakes, and the Pats to per usual take care of business against the Dolphins.
New England 31 Miami 23
Miami – Ryan Tannehill 237 yards 1 TD, Lamar Miller 84 yards rushing 1 TD, Jarvis Landry 77 yards receiving 1 TD
New England – Tom Brady 294 yards 3 TDs, LeGarrette Blount 49 yards, Rob Gronkowski 118 yards receiving 1 TD
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