Three things to watch for as Patriots square off with the Dolphins this Sunday at Gillette:
Dolphins starting QB Jay Cutler will likely miss this Sunday’s game against the Pats as he was placed in the NFL concussion protocol after the team’s loss to the Buccaneers last Sunday. That might not necessarily be a bad thing for the Dolphins, who have actually performed a tad better with Matt Moore taking snaps. In relief of Cutler last Sunday, Moore completed 17-of-28 passes for 282 yards, a touchdown and zero picks. He finished the game with a passer rating of 106.5.
That said, don’t expect Moore to be whipping TD passes this Sunday in Foxboro. The Patriots defense has not allowed a team to score more than 17 points against them in each of the past six games.
Dominance over Dolphins
Just prior to Halloween, it looked like the Miami Dolphins were going to pose a legit threat to dethrone the Patriots in the AFC East. The week of Oct. 23, the Dolphins were riding high at 4-2. Since then Miami has lost four straight - 40-0 to Baltimore, 27-24 to Oakland, 45-21 to Carolina and 30-20 to Tampa Bay.
The Patriots will now see the sinking Dolphins twice over the next two weeks, the first game coming this Sunday at Gillette and the next coming on Monday Night Football in Miami on Dec. 11. The old narrative is that the Pats typically struggle with the Dolphins no matter how bad they are, but that’s not exactly true anymore. The Pats are 11-3 against the Dolphins since 2010.
Big names, weak game
The Dolphins defense has big names like Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake and Kiko Alonso — but Miami is a paper champion. The Dolphins defense is allowing 25.4 points per game this season which is 25th in the NFL. They are 17th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (229.3) and 14th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (109.9). Gotta think Tom Brady and the Pats will be able to score over 30 points for the third straight week.