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
National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Local

NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Television

5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.

Tech

How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…

Tech

OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.