by Chris Lovi - Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 12-02-2012 10:00
A big matchup to keep an eye on Sunday will be the Patriots versus Dolphins in Miami as the Pats look to get one step closer to clinching another AFC East title. New England currently holds a three game lead over Miami with just five weeks remaining. NFLWeather.com forecasts a chance of showers, partly sunny skies with a high near 80 degrees: humid, muggy weather that conditioning coaches like.
Overall, the Patriots are 14-33 against the Dolphins in Miami, but have won eight of the last ten games. This will be the first time these two teams battle each other this season and the Dolphins, perennial Patriots Day spoilers, are excited to have their first crack at the Patriots at home.
Rain or shine, the Patriots find ways to beat you on the ground and through the air. Bill Belichik has enough playmakers and one smart quarterback who can lead them through any weather conditions, even in humid Miami. This year’s usual suspects to keep an eye on will be running back Steven Ridley and wide out Wes Welker, a former Dolphin. (Once the Patriots realized that they could not stop the Dolphin’s young slot back, they signed him instead. The rest is Patriots history). Both Players have small and quick frames that present great opportunities against a Dolphins defense that ranks 26th against the pass this season. Expect Brady to get the ball to these guys using screens and quick outs to see if they can make defenders miss tackles, especially if its wet.
The other side of the ball has been a different story for the Patriots. If the Dolphins want to win this game, they are going to have to put up a lot of points through the air. New England’s defense ranks 28th against the pass this year so look for the Dolphins receivers to see a lot of action this week. Young Daniel Thomas will be tested while Reggie Bush is famous for yards after the catch. This may be his day. The upstart receiving combination of Brian Hartline and Devone Bess will have opportunities to show their stuff, if Tannehill can hit them. Miami will need at least thirty points to win this game and the best way to do that is to put faith in their rookie quarterback to air it out.
According to NFLWeather.com’s Historical Analytics, the last time the Patriots played the Dolphins in the rain was November of 2009. The Dolphins won that won 22-21. Tom Brady on has a dozen losses to AFC East team in as many years but half of those losses are to the Dolphins. In a division dominated by the Patriots, this AFC East rivalry game is a chance for Miami to prove they are a true contender.
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