The New England Patriots will play their second straight AFC East Divisional game this week when they travel to Miami to face the Dolphins. The Patriots hosted Buffalo last week and prevailed with a 29-25 victory when QB Mac Jones connected with TE Mike Gesicki on a 1-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds left in the game.
This week's game will be the second meeting in 2023 between the two teams. The Patriots lost to Miami at Gillette Stadium, 24-17, on Sept. 17. The game will feature the Patriots 9th ranked defense against Miami's top-ranked offense.
The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins will square off for the second time in 2023 on Sunday. Miami beat New England, 24-17, at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 17. The two teams split the series in 2022, with the Patriots losing on opening day at Miami, 20-7, on Sept. 11, and then getting revenge with a 23-21 win at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 1.
While New England has the upper hand in home games against Miami, New England is just 17-41 in games played in Miami, including losses in their last three visits to Hard Rock Stadium. The Patriots last win in Miami was a 43-0 victory on Sept. 15, 2019.
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.
MIAMI 60, NEW ENGLAND 55
(Including New England 2, Miami 1 in Playoffs)
Record in New England: 38-20 (Incl. 1-0 in playoffs)
- Record in Foxborough: 36-18 (1-0)
- Record in Boston: 2-2
Record in Miami: 17-41 (Incl. 1-1 in playoffs)
- Record at Dolphins / Hard Rock: 13-23
- Record at Orange Bowl: 3-18: (1-1)
Record in Tampa*: 1-0
Season Sweeps: Patriots 10, Dolphins 14
Season Splits: 31 (Most recent 2022)
Bill Belichick vs. Miami: 27-22 (27-20 with New England)
*A Miami home game was played in Tampa in 1969.
- Since Bill Belichick became the Patriots head coach in 2000, New England is 27-20 (.574) against Miami.
- Since 2000, the Patriots are 104-41 (.717) against AFC East opponents. New England is 27-20 against the Dolphins over that span, 37-10 against the New York Jets and 37-10 against the Buffalo Bills. The Patriots were 3-1 against Indianapolis from 2000 through 2001 when they were in the AFC East
SCOUTING THE MATCHUPS
By Paul Perillo
When the Patriots run - Edge: Dolphins
Despite the Patriots offensive success against Buffalo, the team continues to struggle when trying to run the ball. Neither Rhamondre Stevenson (3.8 yards per carry) nor Ezekiel Elliott (2.8) managed to average 4 yards per carry, and neither cracked 35 yards rushing despite a combined 20 carries. Even operating behind a revamped offensive line against one of the weakest run defenses in football against Buffalo, the Patriots still couldn't find much running room. Miami has been average when it comes to stopping the run but has been pretty stout lately after a slow start. The Dolphins kept the vaunted Eagles ground game in check Sunday night, limiting Philly to 2.9 yards per carry, although some of that is skewed thanks to four Jalen Hurts "tush pushes" that all resulted in first downs but very little yardage. Still, Miami allows 112.3 yards per game on the ground (18th in the NFL) and 3.9 yards per carry, which is good for 14th. Christian Wilkins and Raekwon Davis form a sturdy pair inside in front of linebackers David Long and Jerome Baker. Long missed some time due to a head injury against the Eagles and his status is uncertain this week. The Patriots will need to be more productive on the ground on the road in Miami.
When the Patriots pass - Edge: Patriots
The aforementioned reworked offensive line gave Mac Jones a little more time to operate against Buffalo and the results were by far the best of the 2023 season. Moving Mike Onwenu to right tackle removed the struggling Vederian Lowe from the lineup and Jones used the short, quick passing game to rack up one of his best days as a pro, completing 25 of 30 passes for 272 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winner with 12 seconds left. Jones will need to see that type of protection again, particularly if Miami gets some reinforcements back in the secondary. The Dolphins were without both starting corners Xavien Howard and Jalen Ramsey against the Eagles, but both could return this week. Ramsey has been on injured reserve all season with a knee injury but began practicing last week and could be activated while Howard is dealing with a groin issue. If they return, that allows defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to use Eli Apple, Kader Kohou and Parry Nickerson in secondary roles along with a solid safety tandem of Jevon Holland and DeShon Elliott. That group, minus Ramsey, shut down the Patriots passing game in the first meeting, mostly thanks to heavy pressure provided by Brandley Chubb up front. He will get some help in this one with Jaelan Phillips healthy after missing the first meeting with a back injury. The Patriots will look to continue to use the speed of Demario Douglas to open up the short passing game once again.
When the Dolphins run - Edge: Patriots
Miami is coming off its worst rushing performance of the season in Philly, where the Eagles edge setters dominated the Dolphins banged up offensive line and shut down Raheem Mostert & Co. Despite the subpar effort, Miami remains the most dangerous rushing attack in football, averaging 162.3 yards per game on the ground and a whopping 6.3 yards per carry. Both totals lead the NFL. On the other hand, the Patriots run defense has been outstanding, allowing 100.7 yards per game (13th in the NFL) but only 3.4 yards per carry, which is tops in the league. Davin Godchaux and Lawrence Guy shook off slow starts to the season and have been stout up front in front of linebackers Ja'Whaun Bentley and Jahlani Tavai. Deatrich Wise has also enjoyed a solid campaign when it comes to stopping the run, something that hasn't always been his forte. Mostert averages 5.6 yards per carry and has nine rushing touchdowns on the season. He hurt the Patriots in the first meeting, particularly on his 43-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. The Patriots will catch a break, however, as dynamic rookie De'Von Achane, who is averaging an astonishing 12.1 yards per carry on 38 attempts, is on IR with a knee injury. This matchup might come down to health as the Dolphins were missing three starters on the offensive line during the Eagles game with left tackle Terron Armstead, center Connor Williams and left guard Isaiah Wynn all injured. Wynn suffered a quad injury against Philly and took part in just five snaps while Armstead (IR, knee) is out and Williams (groin) has missed the last two games. That uncertainty could give the Patriots an edge.
When the Dolphins pass - Edge: Dolphins
The injuries up front not only affected the Miami ground game but also Tua Tagovailoa and the passing attack. Tagovailoa was under attack most of the night and as a result Philly kept the high-powered passing game in check. Still, the Miami passing game is not to be taken lightly. Tyreek Hill is off to a historic start (53 catches, 902 yards, 9 touchdowns) and was every bit as dangerous as ever against the Eagles. In fact, had he not dropped a surefire touchdown pass in the third quarter he would have notched yet another 100-yard game. He finished with 88 yards and a touchdown nonetheless. Jaylen Waddle is dealing with a back injury that forced him to the sideline at times Sunday night, but he's also a very dangerous threat, and Tagovailoa isn't afraid to use his secondary targets either. Braxton Berrios, Durham Smythe and Cedrick Wilson are all capable of making plays if the Patriots focus on limiting Hill, as they have done in the past. Given the Patriots health problems in the secondary, it may be up to the pass rush to once again carry the load. That was the case against Buffalo as Christian Barmore & Co. made Josh Allen move around the pocket constantly and kept the Bills attack off balance as a result. With Miami's banged up offensive line a huge question mark entering the game, it may open the door for some more timely pressure on the quarterback.
Special Teams - Edge: Patriots
It took a while but the Patriots finally turned in a quality effort on special teams in the win over the Bills. Bryce Baringer had a pair of effective punts, one travelling 64 yards that netted 57 and the other downed at the Buffalo 3 late in the first half. Chad Ryland connected on a 49-yard field goal that allowed the Patriots to maintain their early momentum, and Demario Douglas turned in a solid 25-yard punt return to help field position. Even the kick coverage, which entered the game ranked 28th in the league, stopped Ty Johnson inside the 20 to open the second half. The Dolphins special teams group has been solid as well with Jason Sanders' only two missed field goals coming in the first meeting with the Patriots. Jake Bailey doesn't see much action but has punted well in his first season in Miami, averaging 45.1 yards per kick with just one touchback. Berrios is a versatile returner on both punts and kicks and will need the attention of the Patriots coverage units. But New England's refocused efforts in the kicking game were on display against Buffalo and figure to continue.
TALE OF THE TAPE
|2023 REGULAR SEASON
|Total Yards Gained
|Total Offense (Rank)
|Points Per Game
|Total Touchdowns Scored
|Total Yards Allowed
|Total Defense (Rank)
|Sacks Allowed/Yards Lost
- P Jake Bailey (2019-22)
- CB Justin Bethel (2019-21)
- DB Keion Crossen (2018)
- GM Chris Grier (1994-99)
- Off. Asst. Mike Judge (2005-06)
- WR Coach Wes Walker (2007-12)
- WR Raleigh Webb (2022)
- DE Chase Winovich (2019-21)
- T Isaiah Wynn (2019-22)
- TE Mike Gesicki (2018-22)
- DL Davon Godchaux (2017-20)
- LB Calvin Munson (2019-21, 2022)
- WR Devante Parker (2015-22)
- LB Raekwon McMillan (2017-20)
WHAT TO LOOK FOR THIS WEEK
A victory this week at Miami will give the Patriots their second straight win and their second straight win against an AFC East Division opponent after a 29-25 win against Buffalo at Gillette Stadium last Sunday. The last time the Patriots earned two straight wins when facing AFC East teams was in 2019, when New England beat Miami, 43-0, on Sept. 15 and the New York Jets, 30-14, on Sept. 22, in consecutive weeks. A win at Miami this week will also snap a three-game losing streak to the Dolphins in Miami.
PHAROAH BROWN'S YARDS PER RECEPTION
TE Pharaoh Brown had two receptions and both went for more than 20 yards last week against Buffalo. Brown caught a 25-yard pass in the first quarter and a 26-yard pass in the fourth quarter. He has five receptions for 137 yards for the year and is averaging 27.4 yards per reception. The highest average in a season for a Patriots player was Stanley Morgan with a 23.4-yard average in 1981 (44 receptions for 1,029 yards).
QB Mac Jones had his fourth career game with a completion percentage over 80 percent in a game after finishing 25-of-30 for 272 yards and two touchdowns for a completion percentage of 83.3 last week against Buffalo. Jones is the only Patriots player to have back-to-back weeks with a completion percentage of 80 percent or more and will look to accomplish the feat for the second time in his career this week at Miami. Jones completed 82.6 percent of his passes vs. Cleveland on Nov. 14, 2021 and followed that performance by completing 84.6 of his passes at Atlanta on Nov. 18, 2021. The last NFL quarterback with back-to-back games with an 80 percent pass completion or higher was Geno Smith in the first two games of the 2022 season.
WR Kendrick Bourne followed a 10-reception game at Las Vegas on Oct. 15 with a 6-reception game vs. Buffalo last week. It was his best two-game reception mark in his career. He has a team-leading 34 receptions for 370 yards and is on pace to finish the season with career highs with 83 receptions and 899 yards. Bourne had his best season in 2021 with New England when he caught 55 passes for 800 yards.
Rookie P Bryce Baringer is tied for the NFL lead with Jacksonville's Logan Cooke with 18 punts inside the 20-yard line. He is on pace to finish the year with 44 punts inside the 20-yard line. The Patriots record for most punts inside the 20-yard line in a season is 36 by Jake Bailey in 2019.
DB Brenden Schooler had his third NFL game with at least two special teams tackles last week at Buffalo. He is leading the team with six total special teams tackles. Schooler needs four special teams tackles for his second straight season with double-digit special teams tackles. As a rookie in 2022, he had a team-leading 14 special teams tackles, including 11 solo special teams tackles. He can become the first NFL player to begin his career with two consecutive 10-plus special teams tackle seasons since LB Grant Stuard notched 11 special teams tackles in 2021 with Tampa Bay and 11 in 2022 when he played for Indianapolis.
J.C. JACKSON'S INTERCEPTIONS
DB J.C. Jackson leads the NFL in interceptions since entering the NFL in 2018 as a rookie free agent with New England out of Maryland. Jackson has four career picks when playing against Miami.
TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Spero Dedes will handle play-by-play duties with Adam Archuleta as the color analyst. Aditi Kinkhabwala will provide analysis from the sidelines. The game will be produced by Jason Ross and directed by Mark Grant.
NATIONAL RADIO: This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience by ESPN Radio. Steve Levy will call the game with Harry Douglas providing analysis.
LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 33 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.