NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (6-4) atMIAMI DOLPHINS* 6-4)
*Sunday, November 23, 2008 - 1:00 p.m. EST - Dolphin Stadium (75,540) Download Game Release >>
The Patriots will travel to South Florida for an AFC East showdown with the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots fell to the Dolphins 38-13 on Sept. 21, but have not been swept in a season series with a divisional opponent since 2000. Miami enters the game as one of the NFL's hottest teams, having won four straight games and tying the AFC's second longest current winning streak. New England has won two of its last three games in Miami, and features an offense that last week gained 511 total net yards, the franchise's highest single-game total since 1979. New England's game against the Dolphins will be its fourth straight contest against a team with a winning record, and the streak will be extended to five games when the 7-3 Pittsburgh Steelers come to Gillette Stadium for a Thanksgiving Weekend clash in two weeks.
Since the beginning of the 2003 season, the Patriots are 16-1 (.941) in games following a loss. New England fell to the New York Jets last week in overtime, 34-31. Over the last five-plus seasons (2003-08), the Patriots have only lost back-to-back games on one occasion (Nov. 5 and Nov. 12, 2006).
This week's game against the Dolphins is the third in a streak of three straight AFC East games for the Patriots, marking their first string of back-to-back-to-back divisional contests since 2001. Over the last seven-plus seasons (2001-08), the Patriots have compiled a 37-11 (.771) divisional record, marking the best divisional record in the NFL. Pittsburgh ranks second with a 36-13 (.735) divisional mark since 2001. New England's five straight division championships heading into this season are the most in the history of the AFL/AFC East division (1960-present). The Patriots have won the AFC East title in six of the last seven years (2001, 2003-07).
TELEVISION:This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience by CBS. The game can also be seen in the Boston area on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Greg Gumbel and **Dan Dierdorf *will call the game.
RADIO:WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 36 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 32nd season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer *Gino Cappelletti. Santos and Cappelletti are celebrating their 25th anniversary season.
The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins will square off for the 87th time in their history in their 43rd year as division foes. New England has won 10 of the last 15 games against Miami. The Dolphins have had the upper hand at home against the Patriots as they hold a 32-10 record in games played in Miami. The Patriots swept the season series last year for the first time since 2003. Earlier this season, Miami snapped New England's NFL record 21- game regular-season win streak with a 38-13 victory at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 21, 2008.
PATRIOTS-DOLPHINS QUICK HITS
- Since Bill Belichick became Patriots head coach in 2000, New England is 9-8 (.529) against the Miami Dolphins and 102-36 (.739) against the other 30 NFL teams.
- Since 2001, the Patriots are 37-11 against AFC East opponents. More than half of those losses (6) have some to Miami. The Patriots are 9-6 against the Dolphins over that span and are 13-4 against the New York Jets and 14-1 against the Buffalo Bills in that time.
- 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.
- The Dolphins are one of just five teams to have defeated the Patriots more than once in the last eight seasons (2001-08), having beaten the Patriots six times in that span. The other teams are Denver (5), New York Jets (4), Indianapolis (3) and San Diego (2).
- In three career games against the Dolphins, Wes Welker has caught 20 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 6.7 catches and 80.7 receiving yards per game against his former club. Those averages are the best against any team Welker has faced more than once in his career.
- Last season, Randy Moss caught two touchdown passes in each of the Patriots' two games against Miami. He has caught five scoring passes in six career games against the Dolphins.
Matt Cassel suffered his first career loss as a starter to the Dolphins on Sept. 21, 2008. Cassel has played against the Dolphins in each of his four NFL seasons. Cassel saw his first significant NFL action against the Dolphins in the 2005 regularseason finale on Jan. 1, 2006.
Chad Pennington is very familiar with the Patriots, as he spent eight seasons with the New York Jets prior to joining the Dolphins in 2008. In his nine previous starts against New England (including one playoff game), Pennington is 3-6.
- Dolphins executive vice president-football operations Bill Parcells served as the Patriots head coach from 1993-1996. He compiled a 32-32 record with the team. In 1996 he led the Patriots to an AFC East title and a berth into Super Bowl XXXI. He also served as the Patriots linebackers coach in 1980.
- Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi is the only player remaining on the Patriots' roster from Parcells' tenure as New England head coach. Bruschi was a rookie in Parcells' final season with the Patriots in 1996.
- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Dolphins executive vice president-football operations Bill Parcells coached together for 15 seasons with the Giants, Patriots and Jets. The pair went to three Super Bowls together.
- Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano was born in West Haven, Conn. and was a four-year letterman at center at the University of New Haven. He started his career coaching at New Haven, before spending six seasons at Boston University, and then five more as the head coach at New Haven.
- Patriots special assistant-secondary coach Dom Capers was on the Miami Dolphins coaching staff the past two seasons. In 2006, Capers served as the special assistant to the head coach under head coach Nick Saban. In 2007, Capers served as defensive coordinator under head coach Cam Cameron.
- Patriots wide receiver Randy Mosspaired up with Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington to set an NCAA season record for touchdowns (24) at Marshall University in 1997. Patriots punter Chris Hanson was also on the squad.
- Dolphins wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell was the head coach at UCLA during Patriots wide receiver Matthew Slater's four years as a Bruin.
- Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker signed with the Dolphins in 2004 after being waived by the San Diego Chargers. In 2004, Welker became the first player in NFL history to return a punt, return a kick, kick a field goal, kick an extra point and kick off in the same game when he did so against New England. On March 5, 2007, he was acquired by the Patriots from the Dolphins in exchange for draft picks in the second and seventh rounds of the 2007 NFL Draft.
- Dolphins offensive coordinator Dan Henning served as Boston College's head coach from 1994-96.
- Patriots linebacker Shawn Crable and Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne and tackle Jake Long are all rookies from the University of Michigan.
- Dolphins offensive line coach **Mike Maser *held the same position at Boston College from 1981-93.
- Dolphins outside linebackers coach Jim Reid served as Boston College's defensive coordinator in 1994.
- Patriots linebacker Larry Izzo originally signed with the Dolphins as a rookie free agent following the 1996 NFL Draft and played for Miami from 1996-2000. Izzo earned Pro Bowl honors with Miami in 2000.
- Patriots fullback **Heath Evans *played in the first six games of the 2005 season for the Dolphins and earned two starts. The Patriots signed him on Nov. 1, 2005. Evans is a native of West Palm Beach, Fla.
- Patriots guard Billy Yates was originally signed by the Dolphins as a rookie free agent in 2003. He was waived by Miami on Sept. 5, 2004 and signed to the Patriots practice squad on Sept. 11, 2004.
- Patriots special assistant-secondary coach Dom Capers, while the Houston Texans head coach, drafted Dolphins linebacker Charlie Anderson in the sixth round (200 selection) of the 2004 draft. Anderson played under Capers in Houston from 2004-05.
- Patriots wide receiver Jabar Gaffney and safety Lewis Sanders were teammates with Dolphins linebacker *Charlie Anderson *n the Houston Texans in 2005.
- Patriots cornerback Ellis Hobbs is the nephew of former Dolphins defensive lineman William Gaines. Gaines played for the Dolphins in 1994 and also played for the Washington Redskins.
- Patriots wide receiver Kelley Washington played at the University of Tennessee in 2001 with Dolphins cornerback Jason Allen.
- Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel and Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter were teammates with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1999-2000.
- Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington and Patriots running back LaMont Jordan were teammates with the New York Jets from 2001-04.
- Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork was a teammate of Dolphins tackle Vernon Carey at the University of Miami from 2002-03.
- Patriots tackle Wesley Britt and Dolphins guard Justin Smiley were teammates at the University of Alabama from 2001-03.
- Patriots wide receiver Jabar Gaffney is from Jacksonville, Fla. and attended the University of Florida.
- Patriots defensive back Brandon Meriweather, a Florida native, is an alumnus of the University of Miami and attended Apopka High School in Apopka, Fla. (near Orlando).
- Dolphins director of college scouting Chris Grier's first NFL position was as an intern for the Patriots in 1994. He spent five seasons working in the personnel department before joining Miami in 2000. Grier was a two-year letterman at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He is the son of Bobby Grier, the former Vice President of Player Personnel for New England.
- Patriots tackle Matt Light *ad Dolphins linebacker *Akin Ayodele were teammates at Purdue from 1999-2000.
- Dolphins wide receiver Brandon London attended the University of Massachusetts.