Patriots-Dolphins: 3 things to watch for this Sunday

Tom Brady Patriots Dolphins
Tom Brady tossed two touchdown passes against the Dolphins the last time they came to Foxboro. Credit: Getty Images

The Patriots go into Sunday with a 5-2 record as they host the 3-4 Dolphins. At the very least, fans will get a chance to move on from that ugly Jets loss. But the Dolphins won’t be any easier. Here are three keys to watch out for.

1. Rush defense
For all the talk surrounding the Patriots’ sketchy offense and banged up secondary, let’s not forget how rough the rush defense has been this season. How bad, you ask? There’s only one team worse than the Patriots when it comes to rush yards allowed per game – the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Patriots are giving up 127.1 yards per game. They’re giving up an average of 4.0 yards per carry – good for 20th in the NFL. The problem is that both tackles Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly are out, with Wilfork done for the year. Players like Joe Vellano and Chris Jones are doing a commendable job filling in, but they can only do so much. If Miami’s Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas run over the Pats on Sunday, they’ll be big problems as the ‘Fins only average 78.0 yards per game on the ground.


2. Oh Danny Boy
Week 8 sounds like a great time to have both Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola on the field for the Patriots. Gronk is a sure bet to play (barring an injury in practice Friday), and Amendola has been limited in practice all week. Tom Brady threw to Gronkowski a staggering 17 times last Sunday, with Gronk catching roughly half the balls, but the offense as a whole didn’t look great. With Amendola as another option, Brady may finally start to look like the Brady of old, and not just an old Brady. So many marquee players are going down around the NFL, so it’s nice to have a couple of Pro Bowl-caliber players coming back for the Pats.

3. A surprisingly big game

Before the start of the season, the AFC as a whole looked like NFC Jr.. But many NFC teams have stumbled out of the gate, while AFC teams like Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati have played well. In the AFC East, the Jets have been a surprise, having won four games already – more than some thought they’d win all year. And the Dolphins and Bills are 3-4, just two games behind New England. If the Pats still “own” the AFC East, it certainly doesn’t feel like it right now. Sunday will make for a nice statement game in either direction. A win by the Dolphins – which would be two losses to division opponents in a row for the Pats – would signal a division race. But a big Patriots win might just restore order and hush the critics … key word: might.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Many deaths as boat with African emigrants sinks…

BENGHAZI Libya (Reuters) - A boat packed with up to 250 African emigrants trying to reach European shores sank on Sunday off the Libyan coast…

Local

State health department warns against rare respiratory virus…

The New York State Department of Health is calling upon parents to be aware of the symptoms of enterovirus EV-D68. More than 12 children across the…

National

Liberal Vermont Senator Sanders may seek U.S. presidency…

By Will DunhamWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bernie Sanders, one of the Senate's leading liberals, said on Sunday he is thinking about running for U.S. president in…

Money

Second Shift: Turning fun into money

In this week's Second Shift series, meet a New Yorker who has established two successful careers around having fun.

Movies

Dan Stevens kisses Cousin Matthew goodbye

Dan Stevens wanted a change and he certainly got one. After quickly developing a devoted fan base as Matthew Crawley on "Downton Abbey," the 32-year-old…

Movies

Nerd alert: Genesis Rodriguez, robot-maker

Geeks of the world, you're about to fall in love with Genesis Rodriguez. There's no point in resisting. The actress, appearing in Kevin Smith's totally…

The Word

The Word: Kanye West wants everyone on their…

Maybe we can blame this one on the migraine, too. Kanye West is drawing ire for halting a performance in Sydney when his demands that…

Movies

That's a wrap on TIFF 2014

This year's Toronto International Film Festival closes without the satisfying sense of certainty that had become a mainstay in recent years. Last year, for example,…

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

NFL

Giants vs. Cardinals: 3 things we learned

The Giants heard all week about how ragged their new offense has looked, but even when they finally answered the bell they still can’t find a way to win.

NFL

About a quarter of football players will get…

About one in four National Football League players are likely to end up suffering cognitive impairments during their lifetime, according to a report.

Home

DIY design: Try this upcycle furniture project

Tiffany Threadgould is living a DIY life. The Chief Design Junkie at TerraCycle, an international waste management company headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey, grew up…

Parenting

The downside of a BFF

For teenage girls a best friend can mean everything, but the way they deal with their problems together can lead to depression

Education

How many colleges should I apply to? Your…

To the average high school senior, creating the perfect college application can seem like a golden ticket into their future. Students and their parents spend…

Career

How Generation Z will change the way Americans…

What to learn how to establish a career in this new economy? Look no further than the current generation of young people - that is,…