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Game Preview: Patriots at Dolphins

Week2_20190915-GamePreview-PDC

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (1-0) AT MIAMI DOLPHINS (0-1)
Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. ET. Hard Rock Stadium (64,767)
TV: CBS, WBZ | RADIO: 98.5 FM The Sports Hub

The New England Patriots will begin AFC East Divisional play this weekend when they travel to face the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. The Patriots will look to get off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2016 and for the the 10th time under head coach Bill Belichick.

The Patriots own an 86-24 (.782) record in regular-season AFC East games since the beginning of the 2001 season, compiling the best intra-division record of any team in the NFL.

The Patriots are 1-5 in their last six visits to Miami, including a streak of two straight losses.

SERIES HISTORY

The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins will square off for the first of two meetings in 2019. The Patriots will host Miami in the 2019 reg-ular-season finale on Dec. 29 at Gillette Stadium. The teams have split the annual series in each of the last two seasons with the Patriots winning at home and losing at Miami.

The Patriots are 1-5 in their last six visits to Miami, including a streak of two straight losses.

Last season, the teams split the annual series with the Patriots taking a 38-7 win at Gillette Stadium on Sept.. 30, 2018, and the Dolphins winning the rematch at Miami on Dec. 9, 2018, with a 34-33 victory.

The Patriots have had the upper hand at home against Miami, holding a 35-17 record in games played in New England in the regular season, in-cluding a 15-2 record at Gillette Stadium. But the Patriots are 16-38 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 play-ing twice a year during the 1967 regular season, except in 1982 during a players' strike.

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

SERIES BREAKDOWN

MIAMI 55, NEW ENGLAND 52
(Including New England 2, Miami 1 in Playoffs)

Record in New England, 36-17 (Incl. 1-0 in playoffs)

  • Record in Foxborough, 34-15 (1-0)
  • Record in Boston, 2-2

Record in Miami, 16-38 (Incl. 1-1 in playoffs)

  • Record at Dolphins / Hard Rock, 12-20
  • Record at Orange Bowl, 3-18 (1-1)
  • Record in Tampa,* 1-0

Season Sweeps, Patriots 10, Dolphins 13

Season Splits, 28 (Most recent 2018)

Bill Belichick vs. Miami, 24-17 (24-14 with New England)

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

SCOUTING THE MATCHUPS

By Paul Perillo

WHEN THE PATRIOTS RUN | Edge: Patriots

It’s hard to look at anything positive the Dolphins did in their season-opening thrashing at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens, but the performance on defense was particularly abysmal. That was especially true stopping the run, considering this was the focus of Brian Flores’ game plan coming in. Despite the constant attention paid to the Ravens ground attack, Miami surrendered 265 yards on 46 carries for a whopping average of 5.8 yards per carry. The Dolphins have made headlines early after deconstructing the roster, leaving a ton of young and inexperienced players filling important roles. Christian Wilkins heads that list up front, and he along with John Jenkins and Davon Godchaux will need to be better against the Patriots, even after New England’s pedestrian running performance in the opener. Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels will likely want to get Sony Michel untracked after a dismal 15-carry, 14-yard effort against Pittsburgh. They should get plenty of chances on Sunday.

WHEN THE PATRIOTS PASS | Edge: Patriots

While the Dolphins problems against the run were bad, what the Ravens did to them through the air was even more alarming. Lamar Jackson posted a perfect passer rating while throwing five touchdowns – and that was despite attempting just 20 passes. Miami’s secondary has some talent with Xavien Howard, who has given Tom Brady problems in the past, joining former Patriot Eric Rowe at corner with Minkah Fitzpatrick handling a dual role as slot corner/safety. Reshad Jones and Bobby McCain start on the back end, so the secondary is one of the few areas Miami has some talent and experience. It didn’t show in the opener, however, and now they get Brady and his newest toy – Antonio Brown – on Sunday. Brady shredded Pittsburgh’s zones in the opener and Flores won’t likely allow that to happen in Week 2. But Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and Phillip Dorsett enjoyed strong performances against the Steelers and along with Brown offer Brady plenty of options. Too many, in fact, for the Dolphins to deal with unless the concerns along the offensive line (Marcus Cannon left the Steelers game with a shoulder injury) become reality.

WHEN THE DOLPHINS RUN | Edge: Patriots

It’s hard to judge Kenyon Drake and the Dolphins rushing attack based on a 59-10 smackdown. Miami fell behind early and had to abandon the run. Before that happened, though, Drake had just 12 yards on four carries while Kalen Ballage was worse with -1 yard on five attempts. The Patriots defense carried its strong summer performances into the regular season with a stellar effort against Pittsburgh. James Connor had just 21 yards on 10 carries and wasn’t a factor. Danny Shelton, Lawrence Guy and Michael Bennett held down the middle while the Patriots deep and versatile group of linebackers did the rest. Miami is using a reworked offensive line with former right guard Jesse Davis playing left tackle in the wake of the Laremy Tunsil deal to Houston. Davis performed adequately but would appear to be a player the coaches would look to exploit on Sunday. Drake has given the Patriots some problems in the past but the Dolphins running game doesn’t appear to be an issue this time around.

WHEN THE DOLPHINS PASS | Edge: Patriots

It’s hard to bet against the Patriots defense at this point. The secondary was rock solid against Pittsburgh, as was the case all summer. Stephon Gilmore will likely see plenty of DeVante Parker, who has the size and athleticism to make plays but lacks the consistency to do so regularly. Speedsters Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant might draw multiple bodies if Ryan Fitzpatrick looks to them to ignite the offense. But the secondary has plenty with Jonathan Jones, Jason McCourty and J.C. Jackson all playing well. Miami has some intriguing young tight ends with Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe and Nick O’Leary. That group should keep Patrick Chung busy. Look for the pass rush to get going after a quiet opener, which was likely due at least in part to a game plan that featured lots of bodies in coverage. The Dolphins offensive line struggled last week and Fitzpatrick doesn’t move well; he and backup Josh Rosen were sacked a total of three times. The Patriots defense is feeling it and the Dolphins don’t figure to be the offense to change that.

SPECIAL TEAMS | Edge: Patriots

The fact that this game is in South Florida won’t prevent me from making it a clean sweep in the matchups. The Patriots special teams were excellent against Pittsburgh with Stephen Gostkowski perfect on his four field goals and three PATs while rookie Gunner Olszewski impressed in the punt return department with a 17.5-yard average on two attempts. Meanwhile Miami muffed a punt and watched Anthony Levine race 60 yards on a fake punt. Kicker Jason Sanders did connect on a 54-yard field goal, one of the team’s few bright spots against the Ravens. Flores’ team figures to respond after such an embarrassing defeat, but the fact is the Dolphins are largely undermanned as they embark on a concerted effort to rebuild the roster. The Patriots should be in position to win for just the second time in their last seven trips to Miami.

TALE OF THE TAPE

Table inside Article
2019 REGULAR SEASON NEW ENGLAND MIAMI
Record 1-0 0-1
Divisional Standings 1st (T) 2nd (T)
Total Yards Gained 465 200
Total Offense (Rank) 465.0 (7) 200.0 (32)
Rush Offense 99.0 (18) 21.0 (32)
Points Per Game 33 (5) 10.0 (29T)
Total Yards Allowed 308 643
Total Defense (Rank) 308.0 (9) 643.0 (32)
Rush Defense 32.0 (3) 265.0 (32)
Pass Defense 276.0 (20) 378.0 (29T)
Points Allowed/Game 3.0 (1T) 59.0 (32)
Possession Avg. 32:33 19:53
Sacks Allowed/Yards Lost 1/7 3/11
Sacks Made/Yards 1/0 1/1
Total Touchdowns Scored 3 1
Penalties Against/Yards 7/55 9/64
Punts/Avg. 3/41.0 6/53.7
Turnover Differential +1 (11T) -3 (29T)

QUICK HITS

  • Since Bill Belichick became Patriots head coach in 2000, New England is 24-14 (.632) against Miami.
  • Since 2000, the Patriots are 88-30 (.746) against AFC East opponents. New England is 24-14 against the Dolphins over that span, 28-10 against the New York Jets and 33-5 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 34th time in his career and has compiled a 22-11 record against the Dolphins, including a 7-10 record at Miami. Brady is 81-20 in his career as a starter in the regular season against AFC East opponents, with 11 of the 20 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 improve to a 2-0 record for the 15th time in team history and the 10th time under Bill Belichick. The franchise has previously started 2-0 in 1964, 1974, 1986, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016.
  • The Patriots own an NFL-best record of 86-24 (.782) in regular season division games since 2001 and can improve that mark with a win against the Dolphins.
  • The Patriots will earn their 102nd win on the road since 2000, im-proving to 102-51 (.667) during that span. They will also improve to 125-76 (.621) on the road since 1994 when Robert Kraft purchased the team, which is the best regular-season road record in the NFL in that time.
  • And a player eclipses 100 yards rushing, the team will improve to 52-1 in the regular season since 2000 when a player crosses that threshold.
  • Tom Brady will tie George Blanda for the second-most regular-season wins in NFL history with 209.
  • Tom Brady will earn his 82nd victory against the AFC East, improving his mark as a starter in division play to 82-20 (.804). By contrast, of the 31 other quarterbacks that started in Week 1, 26 of them have yet to win 82 regular-season games in their careers.
  • Tom Brady will earn his 23rd regular-season victory against the Dol-phins, improving his record as a starter to 23-11 (.676). He is the only quarterback in NFL history to have more than 20 wins against three different teams.
  • Belichick will earn his 263rd regular-season win, behind Don Shula (328) and George Halas (318). It will also mark his 294th all-time win, which is third behind Shula (347) and Halas (324).

WHAT TO LOOK FOR...

  • The Patriots have not allowed a touchdown in their last two games (Super Bowl LIII vs. Rams, Week 1 vs. Steelers). If they keep Miami out of the end zone in the first half, it will be the first time the Patriots defense has not allowed a touchdown in 10-straight quarters since 1982 when they shut out Chicago in the second half of a game and blanked Miami and Seattle in following weeks.
  • If the Patriots score 30 or more points, it will mark the fourth time since 2000 that the team has opened the season with back-to-back 30-plus point games. They previously did it in 2002, 2007 and 2011.
  • If the Patriots tally more than 450 total yards against the Dolphins, it will mark the second time in the Brady-Belichick era that the team has earned 450 or more total yards in the first two games of the season. They last did it in 2011.
  • Over the last two seasons, including Week 1 of 2019, the Patriots have limited opponents to eight or fewer fourth-quarter points in 29-of-33 games.
  • Since 2001, the Patriots are 93-13 (.877) when they don’t turn the ball over and are 86-2 (.977) with a positive turnover margin.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

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

LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network’s 38 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 pro-duced by Marc Cappello.

For other ways to watch the game be sure to check out our ways to watch guide.

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