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Game Preview: New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins

Taking a look at some of the connections between the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins. 

CONNECTIONS

NEW ENGLAND TIES

  • Dolphins assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi played tight end at Rhode Island where he walked on in 1988. He returned to the school in 2008 and held the role of head coach for one season.
  • Dolphins assistant offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. played center at Boston College from 1981-85 and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the school before moving on to New Hampshire where he coached the defensive line (1987-92) and offensive line (1993-96). In 2007, Bicknell returned to Boston College after a stint with Louisiana Tech and coached the offensive line there for two seasons before he began his NFL career.
  • Dolphins assistant defensive backs coach Jeff Burris coached cornerbacks for the Massachusetts Minutemen in 2012.
  • Dolphins assistant quarterbacks coach Ben Johnson spent three seasons (2009-11) coaching for Boston College, the first two as a graduate assistant and the final one as tight ends coach.
  • Dolphins offensive assistant Ben Martin is a native of Danvers, Mass., and was a standout offensive lineman at Trinity College.
  • Dolphins assistant wide receivers coach Phil McGeoghan played wide receiver at Maine for three seasons (1998-2000).
  • Dolphins assistant strength and conditioning coach Dave Puloka is a native of Arlington, Mass., and lettered in football and track at Holy Cross College from 1997-2000.
  • Dolphins senior offensive assistant Ken O'Keefe is a native of Milford, Conn. and served as head coach for Worcester Academy from 1978-84.

MIAMI TIES

  • Patriots LB Jonathan Bostic grew up in Wellington, Fla. and played football for Palm Beach Central HS, where he was an all-state selection for Florida Class- 6A. Heavily scouted coming out of high school, Bostic chose to attend Florida, and appeared in 51 games with 32 starts for the Gators from 2009-12. Bostic finished his collegiate career with 237 tackles, 19.0 TFLs, 7 1/2 sacks, seven passes defensed, five interceptions and two forced fumbles and to the Coaches' All-SEC Second Team on defense as a senior.
  • Patriots DL Jabaal Sheard attended Hollywood Hills (Fla.) HS, where he played football and also competed in track, participating in the 200m and shot put. Sheard was awarded a medal of bravery from his hometown at the age of 11 after he helped an elderly woman escape from her burning home.
  • Patriots RB James White attended St. Thomas Aquinas HS in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he was named first-team all-county as a senior, after compiling 136 rushes for 1,145 yards and 15 touchdowns and catching 24 passes for 253 yards and five touchdowns.
  • Patriots LB Jonathan Freenyattended Coconut Creek (Fla.) HS, where he started at linebacker and defensive end.

FORMER DOLPHINS

  • Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll spent one season as the offensive coordinator with the Miami Dolphins. While at Miami, the Dolphins offense had both a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver for the first time in franchise history. RB Reggie Bush picked up 1,086 yards on 216 carries and had five 100-yard rushing performances. WR Brandon Marshall caught a team-high 81 passes for 1,214 yards and recorded five 100-yard receiving games en route to a Pro Bowl appearance for the AFC squad.
  • Patriots LB Jonathan Freeny joined the Dolphins as a rookie free agent in 2011. He spent his rookie season on the practice squad and was promoted to the active roster the following season, appearing in 44 out of the Dolphins 48 games from 2012-14.
  • Patriots DE Rob Ninkovich appeared in five games with the Dolphins from 2007-08.
  • Patriots offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo spent three seasons (2009-11) with the Dolphins as their offensive line coach. With the Dolphins, DeGuglielmo's tutelage helped TJake Long earn a starting spot in three consecutive Pro Bowls.

FORMER NFL TEAMMATES

  • Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll tutored Dolphins T Brandon Albert in 2012, when Daboll held the role of offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs.
  • Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll worked with Dolphins assistant offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr., when they were members of the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coaching staff. Daboll held the role of offensive coordinator, while Bicknell tutored the offensive line.
  • Patriots LBJonathan Bostic and Dolphins CB Zach Bowman were defensive teammates with the Chicago Bears in 2013.
  • Dolphin T Jason Fox and Patriots TE Michael Williams were teammates on the offensive line for the Detroit Lions, where Williams played tackle in 2013.
  • Patriots assistant special teams coach Ray Ventrone and Dolphins DT C.J. Mosley were defensive teammates with the Cleveland Browns in 2009 when Ventrone played safety.
  • Patriots WR Brandon LaFell was teammates with Dolphins QB Matt Moore in 2010 as a member of the Panthers offense.
  • Patriots WR Brandon LaFelland Dolphins TE Brandon Williams were offensive teammates for the Carolina Panthers in 2013.

FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES

  • Patriots DB Tavon Wilson and Dolphins S Walt Aikens were teammates in the defensive backfield at Illinois in 2009, when Wilson was a sophomore and Aikens played as a true freshman.
  • Dolphins LB Jelani Jenkins (2009-12) played with Patriots LB Jonathan Bostic (2009-12) when they were defensive teammates at the University of Florida.
  • Patriots DL Geneo Grissom and Dolphins DT Jordan Phillips were teammates on the defensive line for all four years at Oklahoma (2011-14).
  • Patriots DL Sealver Siliga (2008-10) and Dolphins DEDerrick Shelby (2008-2011) were teammates on the defensive line at Utah.
  • Patriots WR Keshawn Martin (2008-11) and Dolphins TE Dion Sims (2009-12) were offensive teammates at Michigan State.
  • Patriots DB Jordan Richards and Dolphins S Michael Thomaswere teammates in the defensive backfield at Stanford for one season (2011).
  • Dolphins senior offensive assistant Ken O'Keefe worked with Patriots TE Scott Chandler (2004-06) when O'Keefe served as the offensive coordinator at Iowa.

FORMER HIGH SCHOOL TEAMMATES

  • Dolphins G Dallas Thomas blocked for Patriots RB Brandon Bolden when they attended Scotlandville Magnet HS in Baton Rouge, La. from 2006-08.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (12-3) at MIAMI DOLPHINS (5-10)
Sunday Jan. 3, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. ET. Sun Life Stadium (64,982)

The New England Patriots will conclude the 2015 regular season this Sunday when they travel to face the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. The Patriots will be looking for their 10th series sweep of the Dolphins (1986, 1987, 1988, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012). The Patriots beat Miami, 36-7, in the first meeting of the year on Oct. 29 in a Thursday Night Football game at Gillette Stadium.

With a win on Sunday, the Patriots can secure the number one seed in the AFC Playoff field for the second consecutive season. New England has earned the number one seed five times (2014, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003).

The Patriots clinched a bye in 2015 for an NFL-record sixth-straight season and lead the NFL with 11 first round-round byes since the current NFL playoff format was instituted in 1990.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

TELEVISION:This week's game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4 in Boston. Kevin Harlan will handle play-by-play duties with Rich Gannon as the color analyst. The game will be produced by Ken Mack and directed by Mark Grant.

LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis. Produced by Marc Cappello.

PATS AIM FOR SIXTH NO. 1 SEED

The Patriots have earned five number one seeds (2014, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003) in the postseason since 1990, the most in the NFL under that system. A win this week will secure the team's sixth top slot. The NFL began playoff seeding in 1975 and the current playoff format was instituted in 1990.

MOST NO. 1 SEEDS IN THE PLAYOFF FIELD
(Since 1990)

New England 5
Denver 4
Pittsburgh 4
San Francisco 4

MOST NO. 1 SEEDS OVERALL
(Since 1975)

San Francisco 8
Denver 7
Pittsburgh 6
New England 5
Dallas 5
Oakland 5

SERIES HISTORY

The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins will square off for the 101st time, including three playoff games, in their 50th year as division foes and for the second of two meetings in 2015. The Patriots beat Miami, 36-7, in the first meeting on Thursday Night Football on Oct. 29, at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots will also be looking for their 10th series sweep of the Dolphins (1986, 1987, 1988, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012).

The Patriots have had the upper hand at home against Miami, holding a 32- 17 record in games played in New England in the regular-season, including a 12-2 record at Gillette Stadium. But the Patriots are only 15-35 all-time in Miami, including two postseason games. Miami beat the New England at Gillette Stadium for the first time in the final game of the 2005 season, 28-26, when Patriots starting QB Tom Brady was pulled out of action after the first quarter. Miami also beat the Patriots, 38-13, at Gillette Stadium, on Sept. 21, 2008.

The Dolphins and Patriots met for the first time in 1966 and began playing twice a year during the regular season in 1967, except in 1982 during the strike year. The Patriots have swept the series nine times.

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

20160103-tale-of-tape-dolphins.png

SERIES BREAKDOWN
MIAMI 52, NEW ENGLAND 48
(Including New England 2, Miami 1 in Playoffs)

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

Record in New England, 33-17 (Incl. 1-0 in playoffs)
Record in Foxborough, 31-15 (1-0)
Record in Boston, 1-2

Record in Miami, 15-35 (Incl. 1-1 in playoffs)
Record at Dolphins / Pro Player / Joe Robbie/ Sun Life, 11-17
Record at Orange Bowl, 3-18 (1-1)
Record in Tampa*, 1-0

Seasonal Sweeps, Patriots 9, Dolphins 13

Seasonal Splits, 25 (Most recent 2014)

Bill Belichick vs. Miami, 20-13 (20-11 with New England)

QUICK HITS

  • Since Bill Belichick became Patriots head coach in 2000, New England is 20-11 (.645) against the Miami Dolphins.
  • Since 2000, the Patriots are 73-25 (.737) against AFC East opponents. The Patriots are 20-11 against the Dolphins over that span, 22-10 against the New York Jets and 28-4 against the Buffalo Bills in that time. 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 owns a 19-8 record when playing against Miami. While he is 13-1 against Miami in home games, including wins in the last eight games, Brady is just 6-7 in games played in Miami.
  • Brady's only home loss to Miami was on Jan. 1, 2006 in the final game of the 2005 season when the Patriots had already locked up the AFC East title and Brady played in the first quarter before being relieved by backup Matt Cassel.

PASSING PERFORMANCES

Tom Brady is scheduled to start at quarterback against Miami for the 28th time and has compiled a 19-8 record in his previous 27 starts against the Dolphins. Brady is 67-17 in his career as a starter in the regular-season against AFC East opponents, with eight of the 17 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.

Taking a look at some of the connections between the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins. 

CONNECTIONS

NEW ENGLAND TIES

  • Dolphins assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi played tight end at Rhode Island where he walked on in 1988. He returned to the school in 2008 and held the role of head coach for one season.
  • Dolphins assistant offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. played center at Boston College from 1981-85 and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the school before moving on to New Hampshire where he coached the defensive line (1987-92) and offensive line (1993-96). In 2007, Bicknell returned to Boston College after a stint with Louisiana Tech and coached the offensive line there for two seasons before he began his NFL career.
  • Dolphins assistant defensive backs coach Jeff Burris coached cornerbacks for the Massachusetts Minutemen in 2012.
  • Dolphins assistant quarterbacks coach Ben Johnson spent three seasons (2009-11) coaching for Boston College, the first two as a graduate assistant and the final one as tight ends coach.
  • Dolphins offensive assistant Ben Martin is a native of Danvers, Mass., and was a standout offensive lineman at Trinity College.
  • Dolphins assistant wide receivers coach Phil McGeoghan played wide receiver at Maine for three seasons (1998-2000).
  • Dolphins assistant strength and conditioning coach Dave Puloka is a native of Arlington, Mass., and lettered in football and track at Holy Cross College from 1997-2000.
  • Dolphins senior offensive assistant Ken O'Keefe is a native of Milford, Conn. and served as head coach for Worcester Academy from 1978-84.

MIAMI TIES

  • Patriots LB Jonathan Bostic grew up in Wellington, Fla. and played football for Palm Beach Central HS, where he was an all-state selection for Florida Class- 6A. Heavily scouted coming out of high school, Bostic chose to attend Florida, and appeared in 51 games with 32 starts for the Gators from 2009-12. Bostic finished his collegiate career with 237 tackles, 19.0 TFLs, 7 1/2 sacks, seven passes defensed, five interceptions and two forced fumbles and to the Coaches' All-SEC Second Team on defense as a senior.
  • Patriots DL Jabaal Sheard attended Hollywood Hills (Fla.) HS, where he played football and also competed in track, participating in the 200m and shot put. Sheard was awarded a medal of bravery from his hometown at the age of 11 after he helped an elderly woman escape from her burning home.
  • Patriots RB James White attended St. Thomas Aquinas HS in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he was named first-team all-county as a senior, after compiling 136 rushes for 1,145 yards and 15 touchdowns and catching 24 passes for 253 yards and five touchdowns.
  • Patriots LB Jonathan Freenyattended Coconut Creek (Fla.) HS, where he started at linebacker and defensive end.

FORMER DOLPHINS

  • Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll spent one season as the offensive coordinator with the Miami Dolphins. While at Miami, the Dolphins offense had both a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver for the first time in franchise history. RB Reggie Bush picked up 1,086 yards on 216 carries and had five 100-yard rushing performances. WR Brandon Marshall caught a team-high 81 passes for 1,214 yards and recorded five 100-yard receiving games en route to a Pro Bowl appearance for the AFC squad.
  • Patriots LB Jonathan Freeny joined the Dolphins as a rookie free agent in 2011. He spent his rookie season on the practice squad and was promoted to the active roster the following season, appearing in 44 out of the Dolphins 48 games from 2012-14.
  • Patriots DE Rob Ninkovich appeared in five games with the Dolphins from 2007-08.
  • Patriots offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo spent three seasons (2009-11) with the Dolphins as their offensive line coach. With the Dolphins, DeGuglielmo's tutelage helped TJake Long earn a starting spot in three consecutive Pro Bowls.

FORMER NFL TEAMMATES

  • Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll tutored Dolphins T Brandon Albert in 2012, when Daboll held the role of offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs.
  • Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll worked with Dolphins assistant offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr., when they were members of the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coaching staff. Daboll held the role of offensive coordinator, while Bicknell tutored the offensive line.
  • Patriots LBJonathan Bostic and Dolphins CB Zach Bowman were defensive teammates with the Chicago Bears in 2013.
  • Dolphin T Jason Fox and Patriots TE Michael Williams were teammates on the offensive line for the Detroit Lions, where Williams played tackle in 2013.
  • Patriots assistant special teams coach Ray Ventrone and Dolphins DT C.J. Mosley were defensive teammates with the Cleveland Browns in 2009 when Ventrone played safety.
  • Patriots WR Brandon LaFell was teammates with Dolphins QB Matt Moore in 2010 as a member of the Panthers offense.
  • Patriots WR Brandon LaFelland Dolphins TE Brandon Williams were offensive teammates for the Carolina Panthers in 2013.

FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES

  • Patriots DB Tavon Wilson and Dolphins S Walt Aikens were teammates in the defensive backfield at Illinois in 2009, when Wilson was a sophomore and Aikens played as a true freshman.
  • Dolphins LB Jelani Jenkins (2009-12) played with Patriots LB Jonathan Bostic (2009-12) when they were defensive teammates at the University of Florida.
  • Patriots DL Geneo Grissom and Dolphins DT Jordan Phillips were teammates on the defensive line for all four years at Oklahoma (2011-14).
  • Patriots DL Sealver Siliga (2008-10) and Dolphins DEDerrick Shelby (2008-2011) were teammates on the defensive line at Utah.
  • Patriots WR Keshawn Martin (2008-11) and Dolphins TE Dion Sims (2009-12) were offensive teammates at Michigan State.
  • Patriots DB Jordan Richards and Dolphins S Michael Thomaswere teammates in the defensive backfield at Stanford for one season (2011).
  • Dolphins senior offensive assistant Ken O'Keefe worked with Patriots TE Scott Chandler (2004-06) when O'Keefe served as the offensive coordinator at Iowa.

FORMER HIGH SCHOOL TEAMMATES

  • Dolphins G Dallas Thomas blocked for Patriots RB Brandon Bolden when they attended Scotlandville Magnet HS in Baton Rouge, La. from 2006-08.

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