It’s a hat and T-shirt game for the Patriots on Sunday (1 p.m., CBS) against the Miami Dolphins. With a win, the Patriots can clinch the AFC East for the 12thtime under Bill Belichick, and sixth straight season. Ho hum, just another regular season in New England, right?Since 2001, the Patriots own a 65-18 (.783) record in regular-season AFC East games. That’s the best record for any team against their respective division.
The Jets have the AFC East’s second-best record since 2001 at 39-45 (.464). Yes, the gap is that wide.
And though the division titles keep on coming, they never get old for Tom Brady.
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“Absolutely not,” Brady told reporters. “I think we’re trying to win every time we take the field. Winning never gets old, I know that. That feeling that we had the other night was a great feeling, and that’s what motivates you to win because you know the opposite side of that.”
Speaking of Brady . . .
The Dolphins actually possess one of the better defenses in the NFL, and although they’re on the road, should provide some issues for Brady. We’ve seen in the past that Brady just isn’t the same under pressure. That’s where defensive end Cameron Wake comes in. Wake, who leads the Dolphins with 9.5 sacks this season, will make a point to disrupt Brady at all costs. Patriots right tackle Sebastian Vollmer is going to have his hands full.
Unlike a lot of recent QBs the Pats have faced, Ryan Tannehill isn’t exactly going to blow you away through the air. He’s averaging 216 yards per game and has been labeled a “game manager” by some, which is often-times seen as a negative thing (though Bill Belichick used it as a compliment this week). The much-improved Patriots secondary shouldn’t have a huge problem limiting Tannehill’s options, primarily consisting of Mike Wallace and rookie reception leader Jarvis Landry (63). That being said, Wallace did snag a touchdown over Darrelle Revis in Week 1, but that could just mean Revis is out for revenge this time.
Sour taste from Week 1?
Both the Patriots and Dolphins look a little different now than they did when the Dolphins beat the Patriots 33-20 in Week 1. We remember the struggles New England went through to start the season, and a scoreless second half in Miami was the first sign. With so much on the line (the division title, holding onto home-field, payback) don’t expect the Patriots to suffer their first series sweep to the Dolphins since 2000.