Patriots vs. Dolphins Week 8
The Dolphins are coming off a 3 game losing streak and meeting the Patriots at Gillette stadium who just came off a loss handed to them by the New York Jets. This will be a tall order for the Dolphins as the Patriots historically play very tough at home but the Dolphins bring with them Kevin Coyle. Coyle came into the Dolphins staff via the Bengals where the Bengals Defense is a kin to the Dolphins Defense. The approaches and schemes are similar and the Bengals handed Brady and Co. their worst outing this season so far. With that said, the Patriots have always been extremely tough to beat at home and the combination af Bill Belichick and Tom Brady is still one of the most potent coach – quarterback duos in the NFL.
Dolphins Pass Defense vs. Rob Gronkowski
With Rob Gronkowski back in the Patriots line up, Tom Brady gets the reliable go to guy he has been missing. In his debut last week, Gronkowski had 17 targets, eight receptions, 114 yards. Linebackers Jason Trusnik and Jelani Jenkins have to be careful as does Safety Reshad Jones not to give the patriots offense too much room. Philip Wheeler had his best game last week with 8 tackles, sadly mostly against the run. Reshad Jones will most likely be called upon to cover the elite TE but as we saw against the New Orleans Saints, Jimmy Graham burned the Dolphins with two touchdowns so lets see if they learned their lesson.
Patriots Defensive Front vs. Dolphins O-line
Ryan Tannehill should have more time to throw the ball this time around when facing the Patriots 16th ranked pass defense. Chandler Jones will be facing Jonathan Martin, Chandler has had 6.5 sacks thus far this season and Martin has allowed 6 sacks. Even though Martin didn’t allow any sacks last week against the Buffalo Bills, he is not as athletic and agile as Jones. Look for a lot of pressure coming up on Ryan Tannehill’s blind side and lets see if Martin can keep up the momentum from last week. On the right side the Dolphins have Tyson Clabo and he might just be starting his last game, he was dominated last week on the line, albeit by a beast in Mario Williams. Clabo will be facing Rob Ninkovich who only has one sack this year and if Clabo plays at the level he did in week 7 Ninkovich might just get his sack numbers doubled in this game.
Mike Wallace vs. Aqib Talib
Aqib Talib has recorded 4 INTs, 9 passes defended, 1 forced fumble while Mike Wallace has 27 receptions, 357 yards, 1 TD. Talib has missed the last two games with a hip injury but he looks to be ready to play on Sunday as he has been working all week. If he is 100% come game time, the top five corner will hand some headaches to Tannehill and Wallace as he has done with other explosive playmakers in Julio Jones and A.J. Green. More than likely if he plays Talib wont be at 100% and a hip injury will slow him down considerably when facing one of the fastest receivers in the NFL.
Dolphins WR Brian Hartline vs. Patriots CB Alfonzo Dennard
Hartline enters the match-up with 31 receptions, 401 yards, 2 TDs for the season. He is one of the most productive players in the Dolphins roster and is the premiere possession receiver for Tannehill. Dennard has 1 INT and 6 passes defended and might be in over his head on this one. Hartline knows how to get inside position and keep the defender away from the ball and if Tannehill gets into a rhythm in the passing game there will be not much Dennard can do to stop the chains from moving.
This game will go either way and it is hard to predict a winner here. If the Patriots don’t produce in the running game, Tom Brady will not have an easy day getting the ball to his receivers. Having so many young inexperienced targets at his disposal forces Brady to hold the ball longer then he would like and explains the 13 sacks on him this year. On the other side, Ryan Tannehill has not been as he was the first 3 games of the season and holding the “Most Sacked Quarterback” honors might just be taking a toll on him. look for the Dolphins to try and establish the run early and often with Lamar Miller who has shown some flashes of talent with Thomas running between the tackles. Stevan Ridley will still be the best running back on the field but the Dolphins front 7 are a tough line to face.
by Sergio Peralta