The New England Patriots will look to improve their playoff positioning in a lateseason divisional clash against the Miami Dolphins on Monday night. The Patriots enter the game on a six-game winning streak, riding a run of success that has seen them win 27 of their last 28 games. But if the Patriots are to keep their playoff push on track, they will need to win in the city that has historically been one of the toughest places for New England to win.
Since the Patriots-Dolphins series was inaugurated in 1966, the Patriots have recorded just seven victories in Miami. The Dolphins hold a 29-7 advantage in games played at their home field, including five wins in the last six games played in Florida. But the Patriots have owned recent success in Miami on Monday night games, with three of the Patriots' seven wins in the city coming on Mondays. The Patriots have defeated the Dolphins in each of the last four Monday night games between the teams, including wins in each of their last three Monday meetings in Miami.
TELEVISION: This week's game will be televised nationwide by ABC. The game can be seen in Boston on WCVB-TV Channel 5. Al Michaels will handle the play-by-play duties, while John Madden will provide analysis. Michele Tafoya will contribute reports from the sidelines.
RADIO: WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. Playby- play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 28th 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 21st season as a broadcast tandem.
New England Patriots - 2004 AFC East Champions
The Patriots have clinched the AFC East title for the third time in four years, guaranteeing at least one home playoff game. This week, New England could clinch a first-round bye through one of the scenarios listed below. Since the first-round bye was instituted in 1990, the Patriots have earned a bye three times (1996, 2001 and 2003). The Patriots have advanced to play in the Super Bowl in each year they have earned a playoff bye.
New England clinches a first-round bye with one of the following:
- NE win SD loss or tie
- NE tie SD loss IND loss or tie
- IND loss SD loss PIT win or tie
The Patriots have recorded 12 regular-season victories for the second time in the 45- year history of the franchise. The only other season in which New England recorded 12 or more victories was 2003, when the Patriots finished with a 14-2 record. New England has recorded 11 wins in six seasons in team history, most recently in 2001.
DOMINANT IN DECEMBER
When the calendar turns to the 12th month, the weather may turn cold, but in recent years the Patriots have remained red hot. Since Bill Belichick took over as head coach in 2000, the Patriots have recorded a 14-4 (.778) record in games played in the month of December. The Patriots' December dominance has fit into the team's recent history of saving its best football for the end of the season. Since 2001, the Patriots have recorded a 34-4 (.895) record in games played after Nov. 1, including a 6-0 mark in the playoffs.