Storyline: The depleted Patriots head to South Beach to battle the Miami Dolphins. The Pats will be short handed in this one but they need to win this game in order to secure home field through the playoffs in the AFC. Here are my offensive, defensive and special teams keys for this game.
Three Offensive Keys for the Patriots
1. Open in No Huddle: Why not? Pick up the pace and put the pressure on their defense early. I don’t think the Patriots have run nearly enough no huddle this season. It’s a good way to get the offense into rhythm.
2. Get the Ground Game Going Early: Steven Jackson needs to get more carries in this game. The Patriots need to run the ball off tackle more. Attack their ends and force them to play the run.
3. Pass Protection is Paramount: The Patriots offensive line needs to play well today. Look for the Pats to once again use Michael Williams a lot and keep him in pass protection, especially on the left side.
Three Defensive Keys for the Patriots
1. Butler on Landry: The Patriots need to take away Jarvis Landry. He is their go to receiver and he is a factor in the red zone. Putting Malcolm Butler on him will enable the Patriots to dictate other match ups and pressure more.
2. Get Consistent Pressure on Tannehill: Ryan Tannehill has had a tough season especially when it comes to turning the ball over. The Patriots need to get consistent pressure on him and force him into bad throws.
3. Win the Line of Scrimmage: It’s all about winning the line of scrimmage today defensively. The Dolphins will try to establish Lamar Miller early. Don’t let it happen! Gap control will be important for the Patriots today.
Special Teams Key: Don’t turnover the ball in the return game. It’s been an issue this season. Turnovers allow bad teams to stay in games. Don’t allow this team in hang around.
Prediction: Patriots 28 Dolphins 17: I think Miami will give the Patriots fits early on but in the end, the Pats will find a way to win this game and secure homefield advantage throughout the playoffs in the AFC.