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Game Preview: Dolphins at Patriots

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NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (1-2) vs. MIAMI DOLPHINS (3-0)
Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. ET. Gillette Stadium (65,878)

The New England Patriots will return to the confines of Gillette Stadium following two consecutive road games for their first AFC East matchup on Sunday. Last season, the two teams split the annual series with the Patriots taking a 35-17 win at home against Miami on Nov. 26 followed by a 27-20 loss at Miami on Dec. 11.

In 2017, the Patriots did not play their first AFC East game until Week 6 when they played at the New York Jets. Last season, the Patriots finished 5-1 in the division. The Patriots own an 81-23 (.779) record in regular-season AFC East games since the beginning of the 2001 season, the best intra-division record in the NFL.

SERIES HISTORY

The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins will square off for the 106th time on Sunday, including three playoff games, and for the first of two meetings in 2018. The Patriots will travel to Miami for the second meeting on Dec. 9.

Last season, the teams split the annual series with the Patriots taking a 35-17 win at Gillette Stadium on Nov. 26, 2017, and the Dolphins winning the rematch at Miami on Dec. 11, 2017, with a 27-20 victory on Monday Night Football.

The Patriots have had the upper hand at home against Miami, holding a 34-17 record in games played in New England in the regular season, including a 14-2 record at Gillette Stadium. But the Patriots are 16-37 all-time in Miami, including two postseason contests. Miami beat New England at Gillette Stadium for the first time in the final game of the 2005 season, when Patriots starting QB Tom Brady was pulled from action after the first quarter. Miami also beat the Patriots, 38-13, at Gillette Stadium, on Sept. 21, 2008, when Tom Brady was on injured reserve.

The Dolphins and Patriots met for the first time in 1966 and began playing twice a year during the 1967 regular season, except in 1982 during a players' strike.

The two have played three times in the postseason with New England holding a 2-1 advantage.

SERIES BREAKDOWN

MIAMI 54, NEW ENGLAND 51

(Including New England 2, Miami 1 in Playoffs)

Record in New England, 35-17 (Incl. 1-0 in playoffs)

  • Record in Foxborough, 33-15 (1-0)
  • Record in Boston, 2-2

Record in Miami, 16-37 (Incl. 1-1 in playoffs)

  • Record at Dolphins / Pro Player / Joe Robbie/ Sun Life, 12-19
  • Record at Orange Bowl, 3-18 (1-1)
  • Record in Tampa*, 1-0

Season Sweeps, Patriots 10, Dolphins 13

Season Splits, 27 (Most recent 2017)

Bill Belichick vs. Miami, 23-15 (23-13 with New England)

*A Miami home game was played in Tampa in 1969.

TALE OF THE TAPE

Table Extended
2018 Regular Season New England Miami
Record 1-2 3-0
Divisional Standings 2ndT 1st
Total Yards Gained 900 972
Total Ofense (Rank) 300.0 (25) 324.0 (23)
Rush Offense 97.7 (20) 98.7 (16T)
Pass Offense 202.3 (26) 225.3 (19)
Points Per Game 19.7 (25T) 25.0 (11)
Total Yards Allowed 1,219 1,132
Total Defense (Rank) 406.3 (28) 377.3 (21)
Rush Defense 143.3 (31) 89.0 (7)
Pass Defense 263.0 (23) 288.3 (29)
Points Allowed/Game 25.7 (20T) 17.3 (6)
Possession Avg. 27:03 26:46
Sacks Allowed/Yards Lost 6/37 6/63
Sacks Made/Yards 4/25 6/34
Total Touchdowns Scored 6 10
Penalties Against/Yards 13/99 18/135
Punts/Avg. 15/48.0 16/49.5
Turnover Differential 0 (12T) +4 (2T)

QUICK HITS

Since Bill Belichick became Patriots head coach in 2000, New England is 23-13 (.639) against Miami.

Since 2000, the Patriots are 83-29 (.741) against AFC East opponents. New England is 23-13 against the Dolphins over that span, 26-10 against the New York Jets and 31-5 against the Buffalo Bills. The Patriots were 3-1 against Indianapolis from 2000 through 2001 when they were in the AFC East.

The Patriots have not been swept in their season series with a divisional opponent since 2000, when they lost both games to Miami and also to the New York Jets.

TOM BRADY VS. MIAMI

Tom Brady is scheduled to start at quarterback against Miami for the 32nd time in his career and has compiled a 21-10 record against the Dolphins. Brady is 76-19 in his career as a starter in the regular season against AFC East opponents, with 10 of the 19 losses coming to the Dolphins. One of those losses was in the final game of the 2005 season, when Brady was pulled after the first quarter.

IF THE PATRIOTS WIN..

  • The Patriots will reach an 82-23 (.780) mark in the regular season against AFC East teams since 2001, which is the best intra-division record of any team in the NFL.
  • The team will improve to 8-0 following consecutive losses in the same year since the beginning of the 2002 season, which is the last time the Patriots lost more than two games in a row (four games in 2002). This includes one postseason win after losing the final two games of the 2015 regular season. In those contests, the Patriots have outscored their opponents 224-104, or by a margin of 17.2 points per game.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR...

  • Tom Brady needs 18 yards rushing to reach 1,000 rushing yards in his career.
  • Rob Gronkowski needs four more receptions to move ahead of Ben Coates (490) for more receptions by a tight end in franchise history and into fourth place all-time behind Wes Welker (672), Troy Brown (557) and Stanley Morgan (534).
  • If Brady throws a touchdown pass to one new target, he will tie Vinny Testaverde’s NFL-record of 70 different touchdown targets (regular season only). Current Patriots who have caught a touchdown from Tom Brady include Dwayne Allen, Rex Burkhead, Phillip Dorsett, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan and James White.
  • If Gronkowski has a 100-yard receiving game, he will tie Wes Welker (28) for second-most such games in Patriots history behind Stanley Morgan (38). He will also be just three games from tying Tony Gonzalez (31), who has the most 100-yard games by a tight end in NFL history.
  • If Dont’a Hightower records one sack, he will become the 28th player in franchise history to record 20 sacks as a Patriot.
  • With one touchdown reception, James White will tie Kevin Faulk for second-most receiving touchdowns by a Patriots running back in franchise history with 15 (regular season only). Larry Garron is first with 26 touchdown catches. He will also extend his lead over all running backs in the NFL since 2015, for most receiving touchdowns during that time. Detroit's Theo Riddick is second with 10 receiving touchdowns.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

TELEVISION: This week’s game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Kevin Harlan will handle play-by-play duties with Rich Gannon as the color analyst. Steve Tasker will work from the sidelines. The game will be produced by Jonathan Segal and directed by Mark Grant.

NATIONAL RADIO: Sunday's game will be broadcast to a national audience on ESPN Radio. Mark Kestecher will call the with game with Kelly Stouffer providing analysis. Jeff Darlington will work from the sidelines.

LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network’s 41 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis. The games are produced by Marc Cappello.

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