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Game Preview: Patriots at Dolphins

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (13-2) at MIAMI DOLPHINS (10-5)
Sunday Jan. 1, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. ET. Hard Rock Stadium (64,500)

The New England Patriots can clinch the top seed in the AFC playoff field with a victory this Sunday over Miami or a loss by the Oakland Raiders. The Patriots have earned five number one seeds (2014, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003). They are currently tied with Denver (5) with the most top seeds since the current playoff format was instituted in 1990.

New England enters this week with a 7-0 road record and will be looking to finish with a perfect road record for the second time in team history. The 2007 Patriots team finished with an 8-0 road record.

SERIES HISTORY

The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins will square off for the 103rd time, including three playoff games, in their 51st year as division foes and for the for the second of two meetings in 2016. The Patriots beat Miami, 31-24, on Sept. 18 at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots will be playing against Miami in the final regular game of the season for the second straight year and for the 14th time overall. Of those 14 games, seven of them were played in Miami, including the final game of the 2015 season. The Patriots and Dolphins are tied at 7-7 in those games but New England is 3-4 in those games at Miami.

The only other time the two teams played met on New Year's Day was on Jan. 1, 2006 in the final game of the 2005 season, a 28-26 win by Miami.

The Patriots have lost on their last three visits to Miami.

The Patriots and Dolphins have split the annual series for the last three seasons with both teams winning their home contests and losing on the road.

The Patriots have had the upper hand at home against Miami, holding a 33-17 record in games played in New England in the regular-season, including a 13-2 record at Gillette Stadium. But the Patriots are only 15-36 all-time in Miami, including two postseason games. Miami beat the Patriots 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 swept the series nine times.

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

SERIES BREAKDOWN

MIAMI 53, NEW ENGLAND 49
(Including New England 2, Miami 1 in Playoffs)

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

Record in New England, 34-17 (Incl. 1-0 in playoffs)
Record in Foxborough, 32-15 (1-0)
Record in Boston, 2-2

Record in Miami, 15-36 (Incl. 1-1 in playoffs)
Record at Dolphins / Pro Player / Joe Robbie/ Sun Life, 11-18
Record at Orange Bowl, 3-18 (1-1)

Record in Tampa*, 1-0

Seasonal Sweeps, Patriots 9, Dolphins 13

Seasonal Splits, 26 (Most recent 2015)

Bill Belichick vs. Miami, 21-14 (21-12 with New England)

TALE OF THE TAPE

**2016 REGULAR SEASON****NEW ENGLAND****MIAMI**
Record13-210-5
Divisional Standings1st2nd
Total Yards Gained5,7845,044
Total Offense (Rank)385.6 (5)336.3 (22)
Rush Offense116.8 (8)116.6 (9)
Pass Offense268.8 (4)219.7 (26)
Points Per Game27.1 (5)23.3 (16)
Touchdowns Scored4743
Third Down Conversion Pct.45.135.2
Team Passer Rating108.395.7
Total Yards Allowed4,9435,726
Total Defense (Rank)329.5 (8)381.7 (30)
Rush Defense89.5 (3)141.8 (30)
Pass Defense240.1 (14)229.9 (13)
Points Allowed/Game15.7 (1)23.0 (14)
Touchdowns Allowed2539
Third Down Defense (Pct.)35.634.8
Field Goals Made/Attempted25/2916/21
Possession Avg.31:1328:22
Sacks Allowed/Yards Lost24/14830/216
Sacks Made/Yards34/22733/226
Passing TD/Int. (Off.)29/225/14
Passing TD/Int. (Def.)19/1227/16
Penalties Against/Yards86/755116/1068
Punts/Avg.69/41.385/44.5
Takeaway/Giveaway Ratio+10 (3t)+4 (10t)

QUICK HITS

Since Bill Belichick became Patriots head coach in 2000, New England is 21-12 (.636) against the Miami Dolphins.

Since 2000, the Patriots are 74-27 (.733) against AFC East opponents. The Patriots are 21-12 against the Dolphins over that span and are 24-10 against the New York Jets and 29-4 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.

BRADY VS. MIAMI

Tom Brady is scheduled to start at quarterback against Miami for the 29th time and has compiled a 19-9 record in his previous 28 starts against the Dolphins. Brady is 69-18 in his career as a starter in the regular-season against AFC East opponents, with nine of the 18 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.

PATRIOTS SEEK TOP SEED IN THE AFC

The Patriots have earned five number one seeds (2014, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003) in the postseason since 1990. 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, 5
Pittsburgh, 4
San Francisco, 4
Dallas, 4

PATS TAKE AIM AT PERFECT ROAD RECORD

New England enters Week 17 with a 7-0 record on the road. With a win at Miami on Sunday, the Patriots will become just the seventh team in NFL history to finish the regular season with a perfect 8-0 mark in road games.

NFL TEAMS THAT HAVE FINISHED WITH AN 8-0 ROAD RECORD

Dallas, 2014
New England, 2007
St. Louis, 2001
San Francisco, 1990
San Francisco, 1989
San Francisco, 1984

BROADCAST INFORMATION

TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4 in Boston. Ian Eagle will handle play-by-play duties with Dan Fouts as the color analyst. Evan Washburn will work the sidelines. The game will be produced by Mark Wolff and directed by Bob Fishman.

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.

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