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Game Preview: Dolphins at Patriots, 12/24/11

Posted By Jesse Agler On December 23, 2011 @ 4:35 pm In Football | 1 Comment

[1]Week 16

The Dolphins (5-9) play their final road game of the season on Christmas Eve against the 11-3 New England Patriots, who can clinch a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs with a win.

This game will be the 93rd between the two teams–a divisional series that dates all the way back to the Dolphins’ first season in 1966. Miami has won 50 of the previous 92, though New England has won 13 of the 19 games between the teams with Tom Brady under center. That said, there have been some great Dolphins’ moments over the years against the Patriots, which was the subject of this week’s LIST [2].

While last week’s game against the Bills was the back-end of the season series just four weeks removed from the first match-up, these two teams have not seen each other since Week 1, when the Fins and Pats had an historic night at Sun Life Stadium. When the dust settled, New England had a 38-24 win in a game that featured an NFL record 906 yards net passing (combined). Additionally, Brady set a franchise record with 517 passing yards, 99 of which came on a record-tying TD pass to Wes Welker.

It was not a night for the defenses but since then, a lot has changed–for the Dolphins. The Patriots’ “D” is still rated dead last in the NFL and they are currently the only team allowing over 400 yards per game on average. The Fins, though, are now 15th in total defense, third in rush defense, and fifth in points allowed. Changes for the better, certainly.

How the improved play on defense will translate on Saturday at Gillette Stadium is, of course, a mystery, but the Dolphins have to be feeling better about themselves than they were in September. So what are the keys to victory in this one? Our John Congemi lets you know what he thinks with his weekly Keys to the Game [3].

What do you think is the #1 key to victory vs. New England?

View Results [4]

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Despite their trouble stopping opposing offenses, the Patriots have been plenty successful this year. For more on their perspective, you can go behind enemy lines [5] to hear from head coach Bill Belichick and TE Rob Gronkowski.

While the Fins have done a nice job staying healthy this season, they’ll be without one key contributor on offense this week. TE Anthony Fasano suffered a mild concussion and is out for the game. For the rest of the medical news surrounding this game, check out the official injury reports for both teams [6].

Meanwhile, with the game being on Saturday and not Sunday, there are plenty of questions about how to watch and listen. Lucky for you, you can find all of the relevant information on coverage of this game (on TV, radio and online) in the weekly coverage schedule [7].

Finally, we hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season as we leave you with a video preview of the game with former Dolphin Troy Stradford:

Article printed from The Finsiders – Miami Dolphins: http://www.thefinsiders.com

URL to article: http://www.thefinsiders.com/blog/2011/game-preview-dolphins-at-patriots-122411

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://thefinsiders.com/blog/2011/game-preview-dolphins-at-patriots-122411/attachment/mia-vs-ne-small

[2] this week’s LIST: http://thefinsiders.com/photo_story/the-list-best-individual-performances-vs-pats

[3] Keys to the Game: http://thefinsiders.com/blog/2011/congemis-keys-miami-at-new-england

[4] View Results: #ViewPollResults

[5] behind enemy lines: http://thefinsiders.com/blog/2011/behind-enemy-lines-week-16-vs-patriots

[6] injury reports for both teams: http://thefinsiders.com/blog/2011/injury-report-dolphins-at-patriots-122411

[7] weekly coverage schedule: http://thefinsiders.com/blog/2011/tvradio-lineup-dolphins-at-patriots-122411

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