Patriots(13-2) vs.Dolphins *(7-8)
*Sun., Jan. 2, 2011 a 1:00 p.m. EST
Gillette Stadium (68,756)
The New England Patriots will close out the 2010 regular-season at home against AFC East rival Miami. The Patriots beat Miami, 41-14, in the first meeting of the annual series on Monday Night Football on Oct. 4. The Patriots became the first team in NFL history to score a touchdown five different ways in the same game in the victory over the Dolphins. The Patriots scored a rushing touchdown, a receiving touchdown, had a kickoff returned for a touchdown, blocked a field goal that was returned for a touchdown and returned an interception for a touchdown.
TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast to a regional audience by CBS and can be seen in Boston on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Bill Macatee will handle play-by-play duties with Rich Gannon providing color. The game will be produced by Bob Dekes and directed by Andy Goldberg.
LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 36 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 34th 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 27th season as a broadcasting tandem.
PATRIOTS CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH FOR 12th TIME IN KRAFT'S 17 YEARS OF OWNERSHIP
New England has qualified for the playoffs 18 times in its 51-year history. The Patriots have earned 12 playoff berths in the 17 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, a dramatic contrast to the six total playoff berths that the team earned in its first 34 years of existence. New England has won 13 division crowns and has qualified as a Wild Card team on four occasions (1998, 1994, 1985 and 1976). The Patriots also qualified for the playoffs in 1982 as part of a 16-team tournament following a players' strike.
PATRIOTS ARE GOOD AT HOME
The Patriots head into the final week of the season with a 7-0 home record in 2010. The Patriots will look to finish undefeated at home for the second straight year and the fifth time in their history. The Patriots were undefeated at home in 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2009.
PATRIOTS CAPTURE AFC EAST TITLE
The Patriots won the AFC East Championship with the victory over Buffalo and earned home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. It is the third time in franchise history that the Patriots have earned home-field advantage (2007 and 2003).
The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins will square off for the 91st time, including three playoff games, in their 45th year as division foes. The Dolphins and Patriots began playing twice a year during the regular season in 1967.
The Patriots have won 11 of the last 16 games against Miami. The teams have split the annual series in each of the last two seasons and five of the last six seasons. In the first meetings of the 2010 season, the Patriots beat Miami 41-14 on Monday Night Football on Oct. 4 at Sun Life Stadium. The Patriots will attempt to earn their seventh series sweep and first since the 2007 season.
Last year, the Patriots beat Miami 27-17 (11/08/09) at Gillette Stadium before losing the rematch, 22-21 (12/06/09) in Miami.
The Patriots have had the upper hand at home against Miami, as they hold a 26-17 record in games played in Boston in the regular-season, including a 6-2 record at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots are 12-33 all-time in Miami.
The two have played three times in the postseason with New England holding a 2-1 advantage.
Miami 50, New England 40
(Including New England 2, Miami 1 in Playoffs)
*-A Miami home game was played in Tampa in 1969
Record in New England, 27-17 (Incl. 1-0 in playoffs)
- Record in Foxborough, 25-15 (1-0)
- Record in Boston, 2-2
Record in Miami, 12-33 (Incl. 1-1 in playoffs)
- Record at Dolphins / Pro Player / Joe Robbie/ Sun Life, 9-15
- Record at Orange Bowl, 3-18 (1-1)
Record in Tampa*, 1-0
Seasonal Sweeps Patriots 6, Dolphins 13
Seasonal Splits, 23 (Most recent 2009)
Bill Belichick vs. Miami, 12-11 (12-9 with New England)
Tony Sparano vs. New England, 2-3
PATRIOTS-DOLPHINS QUICK HITS
Since Bill Belichick became Patriots head coach in 2000, New England is 12-9 (.571) against the Miami Dolphins. Since 2001, the Patriots are 47-14 (.767) against AFC East opponents. Half of those losses (7) have come to Miami. The Patriots are 12-7 against the Dolphins over that span and are 14-6 against the New York Jets and 19-1 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.
In seven career games against the Dolphins, Wes Welker has caught 55 passes for 683 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 7.8 catches and 98 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. He also has three 100-yard games against Miami with a 138-yard game at Miami (10/21/07), a 120-yard game at Miami (11/23/08) and a 10-catch 169-yard game last season at Miami (12/06/09). In the first meeting on Oct. 4, Welker caught 8 passes for 70 yards.
Tom Brady is scheduled to start at quarterback against Miami for the 18th time and has recorded a 11-6 record in his previous 17 starts against the Dolphins. Brady is 42-11 in his career as a starter in the regular-season against AFC East opponents, with six of the 11 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.
NEW ENGLAND TIES
- Miami Dolphins Head Coach Tony Sparano was raised in West Haven, Conn. and was a four-year letterman at the University of New Haven. Sparano later became the offensive line coach/recruiting coordinator at the University of New Haven from 1984-87 and its head coach from 1994-98. Sparano was also the offensive line coach/recruiting coordinator/academic liaison at Boston University from 1988-89 and BU's offensive coordinator from 1990-93.
- Miami Offensive Coordinator Dan Henningwas the head coach at Boston College from 1994-96.
- New England Patriots RB Fred Taylorand OL Dan Connollywere members of the Jacksonville Jaguars with Dolphins DE Tony McDaniel in 2006.
- Dolphins QB Tyler Thigpen, CB Benny Sappand Patriots SJarrad Page played for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007.
- Patriots WR Wes Welker and RB Sammy Morris played for the Miami Dolphins from 2004-06, as did LB Rob Ninkovich in 2007.
- Miami Consultant Bill Parcells served as Head Coach of the New England Patriots from 1993-96.
- Miami Director of College Scouting Chris Grier is a native of Holliston, Mass., and son of former Patriots' Vice President Bobby Grier.
FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES
- Patriots LB Jerod Mayo and Dolphins CB Jason Allen and DT Tony McDaniel were teammates at Tennessee in 2005.
- Patriots backup QB Brian Hoyer and Dolphins P Brandon Fields were Spartans together at Michigan St. from 2005-06.
- Patriots P Zoltan Mesko and Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne and OL Jake Long sported the navy blue and maize for Michigan together from 2006-07.
- Patriots S James Sanders and Dolphins S Tyrone Culver were teammates at Fresno State from 2002-04.
- Miami rookie OL John Jerry and New England RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis played together for Ole Miss from 2006-07.
- New England OL Mark LeVoir and Miami TE Anthony Fasano were teammates at Notre Dame from 2003-05.
- Patriots rookie TE Rob Gronkowskiand Dolphins DE Lionel Dotsonlined up across from each other in practice at Arizona in 2007.
DIVISIONAL DOMINANCEThe New England Patriots own a 47-14 (.770) 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 over the last nine seasons. The Patriots are 4-1 so far in 2010 against the AFC East.
TOUGH AT HOMEThe Patriots own an overall record of 66-13 (.835) at Gillette Stadium. Since their state-of-the-art facility opened at the beginning of the 2002 season, the Patriots own the NFL's best record at home.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
BY THE NUMBERS
The number of kickoff returns that WR Brandon Tate has returned for a touchdown in 2010 after he returned a 97-yard kickoff for a touchdown vs. Cincinnati (9/12) and a 103-yard kickoff for a touchdown at Miami (10/4). Tate is the first Patriots' player to return two kicks for a touchdown in a season since Kevin Faulk returned two for a touchdown in 2002. The Patriots' record for most returns in a single season is three by Raymond Clayborn in 1977.
The number of blocked kicks recorded by S Patrick Chung in 2010 after he blocked a punt and a field goal in the Patriots win at Miami (10/4). He is the first NFL player to block a field goal and a punt in the same game since CB Ramon Walker of Houston blocked a field goal and a punt vs. New England on Nov. 23, 2003.
The number of interceptions that the Patriots have returned for a touchdown in 2010 after LB Gary Guyton returned an interception 59 yards for a score vs. Cincinnati (9/12), S Patrick Chung returned an int. 51 yards for a score at Miami (10/4), S James Sanders returned an int. 32 yards for a touchdown at Pittsburgh (11/14), and CB Kyle Arrington returned an int. 36 yards for score vs. Green Bay (12/19).
The number of interceptions by CB Devin McCourty in 2010. It is the second most interceptions by a rookie in Patriots history to Mike Haynes (8) in 1976.
The number of touchdown receptions by rookie TE Rob Gronkowski in 2010, a record for most touchdown catches by a rookie tight end in Patriots history. The only other rookie tight ends in NFL history to have more touchdowns were Mike Ditka (12) and Junior Miller (9).
The number of rushing touchdowns in 2010 by BenJarvus Green-Ellis, establishing a career high. His previous best was the five he had as a rookie in 2008. He is the first Patriots player with 10-plus rushing touchdowns since Corey Dillon had 13 in 2006.
The number of points the Patriots are averaging in 2010, the highest in the NFL. The Patriots have scored 480 points, second in team history to the 589 scored in 2007.
The number of yards Dan Connolly gained on a second quarter kickoff return vs. Green Bay (12/19). It is the longest kickoff return by an offensive lineman in NFL history.
72The number of rushing yards BenJarvus Green-Ellis (928) needs to become the 11th Patriots' player to record a 1,000-yard season.
The number of consecutive regular-season games that Welker has caught at least one pass. He has caught at least one pass in all 64 games as a member of the Patriots, including three postseason games.
JEROD MAYO BY THE NUMBERS
The number of total tackles by LB Jerod Mayo. That number is the highest since LB Steve Nelson had 207 tackles in 1984.
TOM BRADY NUMBERS
The number of times that Brady has finished a season with 25 or more touchdowns. He is the sixth QB in NFL history to have 25 or more touchdown passes in at least six different seasons.
The number of times Tom Brady has passed for 3,000 or more yards in a season, a franchise record for most 3,000-yard seasons. He currently has 3,701 passing yards in 2010.
The number of times Tom Brady has earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He earned the award in back-to-back weeks in 2010: at Detroit (11/25) and vs. NY Jets (12/6).
The number of consecutive regular season starts that Tom Brady has won at Gillette Stadium, setting an NFL record for most consecutive home wins by a starting quarterback in the regular-season.
34The number of touchdown passes thrown by Brady in 2010 to lead the NFL. He is one of just the 13 players since the 1970 merger to have at least two 30 touchdown seasons. He had 50 in 2007.
The number of regular season 300-yard passing games by Tom Brady, a team record. Brady's seven 300-yard games in 2009 moved him past Drew Bledsoe (26) for the team record.
81The number of times that Brady has thrown two or more touchdowns in a game. The Patriots are 69-12 when he throws for two or more touchdowns.
The number of wins that Brady has as a starting quarterback. He reached the 100-win milestone in the fewest number of starts (131) among all quarterbacks in the modern era.
THE KRAFT ERA
3The number of Super Bowl championships the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Only Denver (2; 1997 and 1998) and Pittsburgh (2; 2005 and 2008) have won multiple Super Bowl titles since 1994.
The number of conference championships the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Pittsburgh is second with three conference titles since 1994.
The number of division champions won since Kraft purchased the team in 2004.
The number of playoff seasons earned by the Patriots in the 17 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team.
The number of playoff games the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Pittsburgh ranks second with 15 playoff wins over that span.
25The number of playoff games the Patriots have appeared in since 1994. The mark is the highest in the NFL, ahead of the 23 games played by Pittsburgh.
179The number of consecutive home games the Patriots have sold out, a streak that includes every preseason, regular season and playoff game since the 1994 regular season opener.
THE BELICHICK ERA
Bill Belichick is one of just four coaches to win three championships since the Super Bowl era began. Belichick joins three members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the exclusive club (Chuck Noll 4, Joe Gibbs 3 and Bill Walsh 3). Belichick is the only coach to win three Super Bowls in the post-1993 salary cap era and the only one to ever win three in four years.
Bill Belichick has 176 career victories as a head coach, including playoff games. Belichick is in sole possession of 10th place in all-time coaching victories.