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Keys to the game: Dolphins vs. Patriots

It's all hands on deck for the Dolphins because they are completely healthy and ready to use every player in the plan against the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Everyone on the team practiced full on Friday. The coaching staff expects to use Bryant McKinnie at left tackle against New England, although a final decision won't come until Saturday evening.

Cameron Wake will get a full load of snaps as will cornerback Dimitri Patterson. Middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe is expected back at his starting job.

So who has the advantage?

Here are the keys to the game:

When the Dolphins pass the football: The Dolphins personnel department has pushed for Bryant McKinnie to start at left tackle while the coaching staff has taken a more methodical approach. Fans should hope the personnel department wins out because the Dolphins have basically lost two consecutive games when right tackle Tyson Clabo gave up key sacks against Buffalo and Baltimore. Adding McKinnie to the lineup means Jonathan Martin moves from left tackle to right tackle. This game will measure Ryan Tannehill’s ability to recover from a poor game, which his three-turnover game against Buffalo certainly was. The Patriots hope to have starting cornerback Aqib Talib back in the lineup but if he’s out again that will be a considerable help for Miami. ADVANTAGE: Patriots.

When the Dolphins run the football: Did the Dolphins coaching staff learn its lesson this week? Last week, against a weak run defense, the Dolphins didn’t maximize the running game, rushing only 25 times in a game that was never out of hand and in fact Miami led in the fourth quarter. The Patriots are no better than the Bills against the run, allowing four yards per rush, and they’ve been worse since the injury to Vince Wilfork ended his season and weakened the run defense. New England is now 31st in the NFL against the run. The Dolphins must, must, must give Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas a full plate of run attempts to shorten this game, avoid turnovers and move the football. It’s up to offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. ADVANTAGE: Dolphins (if Sherman doesn’t mess it up).

When the Patriots run the football: Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has been criticized this week because he didn’t run the football enough against the Jets despite being in a game the Patriots led and were having success with their running game.  Is this an epidemic, or what? The Patriots, curiously, are statistically a more successful running team than passing team. They have multiple backs that range in speed and size and can work either outside or between the tackles. But if the Pats are going to have any success running this game, they have to do it outside the tackles because the Dolphins clearly have a talent edge on the interior against New England’s center Ryan Wendell. ADVANTAGE: Even

When the Patriots pass the football: Tom Brady has not been playing up to his career standards as his quarterback rating is 20 points lower and his completion percentage is way down as well. That speaks to the loss of Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez and the injury to Rob Gronkowski but it also suggests Brady is struggling to get on the same page with their replacements. Gronkowski returned last week and Brady targeted him 17 times. Look for more of the same, particularly in the red zone. The Dolphins could not figure out how to defend New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham a month ago. They better figure out how to account for Gronk. The Dolphins have the ability to push the Pats pass pocket up the middle with their outstanding defensive tackles and Cameron Wake is ready to take all his usual snaps on the outside. ADVANTAGE: Even.

Special teams: The Dolphins are way better than New England on kickoff returns. The Patriots are way better than the Dolphins on punt returns. Miami punter Brandon Fields is the NFL’s leading punter that includes net and gross average while New England’s Ryan Allen is closer to the middle of the NFL pack. The Patriots have tried more long-range field goals than the Dolphins and have more success doing it, as Stephen Gostowski has connected on 8 of 9 attempts of 40 yards or more, including 2 of 2 from more than 50 yards. ADVANTAGE: Even.

Coaching: Unless Joe Philbin has some sort of Wildcat-type innovation up his sleeve this category pretty obviously tilts in one direction. ADVANTAGE: New England.

Intangibles: Both teams are desperate for a win because the Dolphins have lost three in a row and the Patriots two of three. But the home field has been very good to New England as they haven’t lost an October game at Gillette Stadium since 2005 and are 21-1 there in October dating back to 2003. OVERALL ADVANTAGE: New England.


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Wow,is everybody sleepig in this morning? As much as I would like to see the Fins destroy NE,I have my doubts based on the play in the last three loss'.This coaching staff is clueless in motivating players,game planning for it's opponent,and calling plays both on offense and defense. We have a talented team,but they are definately not playing to their potential. Sad

keep building towards next year. since any hope of a season ended last week just try and improve each week and play all the young kids

We WILL destroy the Patriots. 28-20, you heard it here first.

sure paul

Dolphins have a new surprise play, the WildSack where the OL sacks the QB to stop the clock. This ensures Tanny goes down more softly and will then break the season record for sacks and fumbles without getting too banged up for next season.

Brilliant plan by the coaches! Go Dolphins!

I agree with DD on this one Paul...not going to happen. It would take a miracle to turn this thing around. To many holes that have yet to be filled and the Patriots will find our weak spots and exploit them to the fullest as they usually do. I predict a close first half, then the dam breaks in the second. My guess this game will follow the script of the Monday Night game we lost to the Saints.

lol @ SackFreak

Mando, you are out there. You are saying the Dolphins have the advantage when we run the ball? We don't have a chance in this game, you know it and so do I. It's called bounce-back. This team is not ready to play at the level of the Pats. Maybe next year... again.

Well, we don't have the big, strong CB to cover Gronkowsky as the Jets did with some success. Remember what Graham did to Jamar Taylor in the NO game. We are going to need 2 players paying attention to him from the beginning of the Game. If so, maybe we have a chance in the 4th Qt.

Besides, at least we'll be able to see where Coyle stands. Everybody and their uncle Oscar knows that you cannot play strictly zone against Brady or he will pick you apart. We'll see.

SackFreak,that is some funny s--t

Win the turnover margin and we have a chance. If we are sloppy with the ball then we don't have a chance. Period.

how is it even when Patriots run the ball? LOL That's ridiculous IMO they are without there best RB Vereen and we can stop the run very well especially over the last 4 games

Gronk is going to eat our secondary for lunch, just like Graham did in the NO game. Remember the losing started with that game guys. We still haven't recovered from that embarrassment.

Could have saved some bytes. Keys to the game; at the end of 60 minutes, have more points than the Gaytriots.

dusty bottoms you're not a true fan. Fins can win this week, you gotta believe.

We have a much better chance to win if Matt Moore starts.

The Dolphins are pure garbage. No talent at all.


Got one more stat in favor of the PATS...according to ESPN...the PATS haven't lost back to back AFC EAST games since the 2000 season....

not sure if that was an @ home thing or not....but impressive nonetheless....

I don't know if the PATS run is over....good chance they will try and re-load next season so Brady can make one more good/realistic run over the next 2-3 years....

The time to get them is now....TODAY....right the ship.....protect the QB....make some accurate passes....get the bal to Wallace....get some YAC....and continue to score TDs....the BEST improvbement over all from last year....we finally get 7 instead of a boring 3 in the red zone....

Now lets expand....and start scoring on some chunk plays....

Keys to the game: Just run the ball The Patriots are 30 vs the run and keep T-Hill clean ( This team better draft bigger running backs next year, they are getting kill by the rushing LB)

At this Time, I'm more interested in watching the Coaches than the Players. It is very easy to plan for Brady. He is very susceptible to the rush up the middle and he is great at throwing into soft zones. We'll see. Watch how the CBs play the WRs tomorrow.

T-Fumble needs to be replaced.

Who wins or loses is simple to figure out.

A Fin win = no T-hill mistakes + win turnover game

A Fin loss = T-hill mistakes + lose turnover game

It will be a long season if the reshuffled o-line can't protect T-hill.

A turnstile o-line will get T-hill injured and we'll then see Moore.

It's not a matter of if but of when.

...Another reason to run the ball this week. First, we just do not have the capability to run the sort of offense Philbin wants to run...I do not understand why we keep doing the same things over and over now that teams have the blueprint to defend our offense.

Watch and see, try and make a mental note if you will..Count the times we run out the 11 personel and count how many times we get positive gains in the run. Now count how many times we use 3 or more recievers(not counting the tight end) and count how many pressures New England gets when we are in this personel..Then on Monday we can see how we faired.

The 11 personel(1 Rb, 1 TE) is by far the go to personel grouping. The formations we run out of this grouping screams pass to the opposition. What I have noticed is that because we struggle to protect, or run from these formations. Defenses don't blitz as much. They have affectively taken away the middle of the field. How many completions do we see to the short to mid center of the field. Everything seems to be funneled outside. It makes the throws more difficult, and it causes the protection to break down as we have to protect for a bit longer.

Philbin wants to spread the field. He wants to use the pass to set up the run..Big Chunk plays..This is all fine. I want to retire before I am 40... I want to be able to gobble oxycontin and not get sick whne I run out...Problem is. Both are longshots. Same as the style of offense we are playing right now. Philbin said after the Falcon game that the way we were winning was not sustainable. Well this offense is not sustainable..Until we can protect, even give the threat that we can run from these formations..I'm not sure we will win many games..Especially against quality opponents.

I like N.E.-27-13 this week over the dolphins simple, if you're depending on a 375 thong panties and heels chasing fat slob a man is a reject I might add, to solve your offensive line problems then GOD HELP YOU Dolphins !!

We suck because of Brian Flatline

On 3rd and 1, it will be Brady running the sneak. Yes?

Marcus Mariota!

It's easy to double Wallace with him on the other side.

No run after the catch ability at all.

He puts no fear in anybody.

I know Marshall laughing all the way to the playoffs and pro bowl

3-5 coming to a stadium near you eh?

We have Ritchie Cunningham playing wide receiver.

No one really believes the Dolphins will beat the Patriots in New England. It has no chance of happening. Don't even get your hopes up Dolphin fans. (Pssst. - Hey Dolphins coaches & players - go ahead and make me eat my words. I dare you! I have been waiting for you to make me eat my words for the last decade.) Miami has about as much chance of beating the Patriots (go ahead and prove me wrong, Dolphins)..... Whatever - they have no chance.....

By the way, what is it about professional football in Florida. Jaquars, Bucs & Dolphins have all been irrelevant for some time. Is it something in the water down there? Or is it just bad team management, bad coaching bad players?


The Dan Marino choker disease has spread all across the whole state eh?
destroy the statue in front of the stadium and change the street name to Ross sucks way eh?

When the Patriots pass the football Armando says EVEN???

What are you smoking kid? Even a beat up one arm brady and pop warner recievers and he will burn you faster then you will ever see it.

I'm not saying that we will lose just saying the above sparked from Armandos "Even" is betting with your heart vs your head.

Run the damn ball!
Start Jordan.
Keep Soliai in to stop Pat's running game.
Be very physical with Gronkowski.
Blitz the a-gap.
Keep the CBs up close to stop all those screens the Pats run.
Football isn't exactly rocket science, now is it?

They have a chance alright but they do have to play well and get a couple of turnovers, and this game could be theirs go FINS!!!!!!

Dolphins, two losing seasons between 1970 and 2003.

Ireland = five outta six and five in a row.

Dolphins in 2013 = 3-13.

Daytona has taken over the Blog. He's anxious about the Game and that's the way he expresses himself when so.. I know him.

Tannehill is an average NFL backup, nothing more.

They should put a statue of Dan Marino's illegitimate child next to him at the stadium.

Lmao eh?

Cal @ 10:45

I've heard there is a lot of man-on-man romance in Calgary especially around the gas and oil fields, how long does it take to recover from a 'session'?

the only way we beat NE and have a chance in the season is if Matt Moore start, is all about the QB, this mediocre QB is making everyone looks bad on the team, even a proven superstar WR.

Cal from Calgary,

The movie Brokeback Mountain was based on stories told by men that had gone through Calgary. That kind of behavior is still against the law in the lower 48 (although you wouldn't know it by looking around the Miami area).


If Tom Brady could be cloned, and every team had Tom to play QB, then 31 teams would still fail to win the SB.

The average career of an NFL starting QB, as the starter, is less than 6 years. In every 6 year cyccle at least 26 teams fail to win the super bowl.

The idea that getting an elite, franchise QB is the key to winning is preposterous.

If 17doesn't throw any INTS (especially dumb ones), there is a 10-1 chance.

Cal from Calgary,

Have you ever used crude as a lube for Calgary style man-love?


In Calgary we do not speak of these things in public. What men do with each other and how they lube and how long the recovery takes etc are private issues between consenting men.

In public we talk about hockey/fishing/hunting/trapping and some of us like American football.

Unless Joe Philbin gets a brain transplant with Al Golden this season is going to be a wash, I had extremely high hopes that we had finally found a head coach that the team could hang it's hat on and ride back into contention but sad to say, this guy is either just too damned stubborn or too narcissistic to admit that his plan isn't working and making adjustments.

He will never admit a mistake, he is not humble, two major character flaws that won't cut it in a locker room.

You'll see the sleepwalking Phins on the field again tomorrow, just like the past several weeks. Why, because they do not believe in their head coach. He has lost this team and the product on the field plainly shows that.

Now the big question is, will the players take a players only meeting, and decide that regardless of what the tall clueless one says, they will take the team over and run it themselves, and if they have the will to do that, then that is the only chance this team has of winning anything. It's going to take a mutiny to make a difference on this team.


Question that hasn't been posed by the Miami sports media is, Will the slight injury shoulder injury of Tannehill be excuse given to start Matt Moore in the coming weeks? We are at game 7 now which is still early and so is it about winning or continuing to experiment with Tannehill for remainder of the year?

Cal and Exp now are boyfriends

frank why would u start a career backup over a second year qb that is developing. makes zero sense. this season is lost, no reason not to keep developing your young qb

Anybody here with a mature commentary(no anxiety, please). Well, Mckinnie has a chronic bum knee, we'll see how it goes.

It's sad that wanna be fans cry so much n the season is not over yet I'm glad some of yall guys dnt coach smh

Canes D looking a lot like the Fins D so far today.

1st down-a yard or two
2nd down-stuff
3rd down and long= 1st down!

After about 4 or 5 identical series- TD Wake Forest


The NFL has flirted with the idea of placing a team in either Los Angeles, and more recently London, for years now. Commissioner Roger Goodell just cranked up the flirtation into an informal courting.

Goodell said Saturday, courtesy of ESPN.com, at a forum for European NFL fans that the NFL is interested in landing in both cities, and he has no preference which one might land a franchise first.

"It doesn't matter," Goodell said. "I'd love to be back in Los Angeles, but it has to be done the right way, we have to do it successfully. ...

"I want both [cities], but it doesn't matter which one is first."

Posted by: Y hate miami | October 26, 2013 at 12:08 PM

The season was over when they let Jake Long and Reggie Bush walk away.

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