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Game Preview: Patriots host Dolphins on Thursday Night Football

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (6-0) vs. MIAMI DOLPHINS (3-3)
Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015 at 8:25 p.m. ET
Gillette Stadium (66,829)

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The New England Patriots will play their second game in five days when they host AFC East rival Miami on Thursday Night Football. The Patriots will be playing in their second game on Thursday night in 2015. The Patriots kicked off the season as part of the NFL's Kickoff celebration as defending Super Bowl Champions and beat Pittsburgh, 28-21, on Sept. 10 at Gillette Stadium. It is the first time in team history that the Patriots will play in two Thursday games. Tom Brady is 8-0 all-time when starting on Thursday.

The Patriots improved to 6-0 with a 30-23 win last Sunday against the New York Jets and will look to start the year at 7-0 for the second time in team history and for the first time since 2007.

Since 2001, the Patriots have the NFL's top divisional record with a 69-19 (.784) mark. Indianapolis is second with a 66-23 (.742) record.

The Patriots have scored 30 or more points in five straight games. The streak is the longest for the Patriots since 2011, when they had a streak of six such games.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

TELEVISION:This week's game will be broadcast by CBS/NFL Network and can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4 in Boston. Jim Nantzwill handle play-by-play duties with Phil Simms as the color analyst. Tracy Wolfsonwill work the sidelines. The game will be produced by Lance Barrow and directed by Mike Arnold.

NATIONAL RADIO:This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience on Westwood One Radio. Ian Eagle and Boomer Esiason will call the game.

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.

DIVISIONAL DOMINANCE

The New England Patriots own a 69-19 (.784) 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.

SERIES HISTORY

The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins will square off for the 100th time, including three playoff games, in their 50th year as division foes and for the for the first of two meetings in 2015. The Patriots will travel to Miami to play at Sun Life Stadium in the final game of the regular season on Jan. 3, 2016.

Miami snapped the Patriots 10-game winning streak on on opening day in 2014 after overcoming a 20-10 halftime deficit to win 33-20 at SunLife Stadium on Sept. 7, 2014. The Patriots avenged that loss with a 41-13 victory over Miami in the second meeting, which was played at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 14, 2014.

The Patriots have had the upper hand at home against Miami, holding a 31-17 record in games played in New England in the regular-season, including an 11-2 record at Gillette Stadium. But the Patriots are only 15-34 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.

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SERIES BREAKDOWN

MIAMI 52, NEW ENGLAND 47
(Including New England 2, Miami 1 in Playoffs)
*-A Miami home game was played in Tampa in 1969

Record in New England, 32-17 (Incl. 1-0 in playoffs)
Record in Foxborough, 23-15 (1-0)
Record in Boston, 2-2

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, 19-13 (19-11 with New England)

QUICK HITS

  • Since Bill Belichick became Patriots head coach in 2000, New England is 19-11 (.633) against the Miami Dolphins.
  • Since 2000, the Patriots are 71-25 (.740) against AFC East opponents. The Patriots are 19-11 against the Dolphins over that span, 22-9 against the New York Jets and 27-4 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 an 18-8 record when playing against Miami. While he is 12-1 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 27th time and has compiled an 18-8 record in his previous 26 starts against the Dolphins. Brady is 63-16 in his career as a starter in the regular-season against AFC East opponents, with eight of the 16 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 Rizziplayed 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 Burriscoached 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'Keefeis a native of Milford, Conn. and served as head coach for Worcester Academy from 1978-84.

MIAMI TIES

  • Patriots LB Jon 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 Dominique Easley started 26-of-32 games over his four-year career at Florida (2010-13), and finished his career with 81 tackles, 18 TFLs, 5 1/2 sacks, one pass defensed and one fumble recovery.
  • Patriots DL Jabaal Sheardattended 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 Freeny attended Coconut Creek (Fla.) HS, where he started at linebacker and defensive end.

FORMER PATRIOTS

  • Dolphins RB Jonas Grayspent the beginning of the 2014 season on the Patriots practice squad before being signed to the active roster on Oct. 16th. He played in eight games with three starts for the Patriots in 2014, including a game against the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 16, where Gray was rushed for 201 yards on 38 carries and a franchise-record four touchdowns en route to a 42-20 victory.

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 Marshallcaught 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 LB Jonathan 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 LaFell and Dolphins TEBrandon 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 the 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) and DL Dominique Easley (2010-13) 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 DE Derrick 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 Thomas were 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 HIGHSCHOOL TEAMMATES

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

PATRIOTS ON THURSDAY

The Patriots will play onThursday for the 15th time in team history and for the second time in 2015. It is the first time in team history that the Patriots will play two games on Thursday in the same season. The Patriots beat Pittsburgh, 28-21, at Gillette Stadium as part of the NFL's Kickoff Celebration with the defending Super Bowl Champions.

Five of the Patriots Thursday games were played on Thanksgiving (1984, 2000, 2002, 2010 and 2012).

BILL BELICHICK ON THURSDAY

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick will coach in his 12th game on a Thursday, including his 11th with the Patriots. Belichick is 9-2 all-time when coaching on Thursday, including 3-1 on Thanksgiving games and 8-2 as head coach of the Patriots in Thursday games.

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