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Note to Dolphins: You must defend this house

Whatever happens tonight, it is only one game. OK? Repeat after me: It is only one game.

If the Dolphins win, the victory is not a guarantee they are going to the Super Bowl or even the playoffs. If they lose, it is not an omen that the season is lost. It is only one game.

And having said that, there is at least one conclusion we will be able to draw based on the outcome of tonight's Monday night matchup between the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins:

Who's home field is this, anyway?

Last season the Dolphins lost seven of their eight games at home. That was as bad as their home record in 2007 when the team was 1-15.

When you consider the Dolphins also lost their final two home games of 2009, Sun Life Stadium has been the venue where Miami is 1-9 in the last 10 games. And you wonder why the home fans are angry?

The Dolphins have to show they can defend their house. If they lose at home again Monday night, what has changed in that regard? Nothing. It is another home game where the fans go home unhappy.

How would that make them want to come back next week for the Houston game?

Now, a victory over the Patriots and suddenly a bolt of energy will strike the organization, it's players, and fans. Ticket sales will pick up. Player confidence will pick up. Everyone's mood picks up.

We'll know which way things are going by the end of the night. No doubt about that.