The Patriots are coming off a 2010 season that saw them twice beat the Dolphins handily.

 

Don’t think that means tonight is going to be a cakewalk.

 

Last year aside, Miami has a long history of being a thorn in New England’s side. Since 2001, the Pats have run up a 48-14 record against the rest of the AFC East. Seven of those losses — exactly half — have come against the Dolphins.

 

So looking past Miami — even as 7-point favorites — would be a very big mistake. Heck, it’s even how Bill Belichick defined that mythical “Patriot Way” over the weekend.

 

“Right now our way is to try to find a way to beat Miami,” he said. “That’s really what we’re about now. Trying to prepare well, trying to have everything tightened up, go down there confidently, go out there and play well. Hopefully that will result in a victory; that’s what we’re trying to do now.”