New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 9, 2018
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
The New England Patriots are in the midst of an unprecedented run of success within the AFC East and can clinch their 10th consecutive division title with a victory at the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon. The Patriots trail Kansas City by one game for the best record in the AFC but they have struggled in Miami with four losses in their last five visits.
New England quarterback Tom Brady has won 12 of his last 13 against AFC East opponents, but he has a losing record (7-9) against the Dolphins in Miami, including a 27-20 setback a year ago. “I think the climate plays some role and they always seem to play well when they play us down there,” Brady said. “We’re going up against a good opponent that plays us very well at home. We play them very well at home. It is just one of those series where it is kind of like that.” The Dolphins have dropped six of nine since opening the season with three wins in a row, a swoon that started with a 38-7 mauling at New England in Week 4. Still, Miami is among a cluster of four teams with 6-6 records that trail Baltimore by one game for the final playoff berth in the conference.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Patriots -7.5. O/U: 47
ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (9-3): Brady threw for 311 yards with a touchdown and an interception in last week’s 24-10 win over Minnesota, but he has had some clunkers on the road this season and failed to throw a scoring pass in two of his last three away from home. Running back James White has been an integral part of the passing game with team highs in catches (74), yards (659) and receiving touchdowns (6). Running back Sony Michel has rushed for more than 100 yards three times during his rookie season, including 112 on a season-high 25 carries in the drubbing of the Dolphins in Week 4. The Patriots have only 19.0 sacks and have struggled against the pass but they are tied for ninth with 21.6 points allowed.
ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (6-6): Ryan Tannehill made his second start since missing five games with a shoulder injury and threw for three touchdowns in last week’s 21-17 win over Buffalo despite mustering only 137 yards passing. Miami is one of five teams averaging fewer than 200 yards passing but leading receiver Danny Amendola, who played the previous five seasons with the Patriots, is on track to return to the lineup after sitting out last week’s matchup. Frank Gore leads the ground game with 616 yards rushed but he failed to get 10 carries for the first time in nine games and was limited to 21 yards against Buffalo. The Dolphins will be without star cornerback Xavien Howard, the NFL leader with seven interceptions.
1. New England can become the first team to make 10 consecutive playoff appearances.
2. Tannehill has won his last eight starts at home.
3. Brady is tied with Peyton Manning for the most career touchdowns (playoffs included) with 579.