Patriots Week Preview
The Miami Dolphins are about due a victory of the Patriots – in the last 4 meetings between the two teams, the Patriots are 4-0. This simply will not do. They are travelling to our turf; and if what I am hearing around the interwebs is true, then home field advantage is unlikely to be in effect, as it seems that they will have just as many of their supporters present, if not more. One report I read suggested that the Dolphins’ offense have been practicing with loud crowd noise blaring away this week in preparation for just that scenario. It’s embarrassing but it seems that that’s just the way it is.
The Brady-lead Patriots are just as good as they have ever been with the sixth round pick out of Michigan at the helm. Since taking over the mantle, Brady has made New England a perennial playoff team and a force within the AFC and the AFC East. He is to Patriots football what Marino was to Dolphins football. They will sure miss him when he is gone. Look, this isn’t me just paying lip service to the guy – the fact of the matter is that the Patriots’ success hinges on Brady. The facts are that this Sunday we face a team that is 1st in scoring, 1st in offensive yards and 4th in passing yards, on the shoulders of the QB. Brady is putting together another MVP-calibre season having thrown just the 3 interceptions and currently holding a QB rating of 105.2. They are good, but Brady is the cog in the machine that keeps this team ticking over so nicely, disrupt his game and the whole thing kinda doesn’t work so well. Yeah, the running game currently ranks 6th in the league, but make no mistake, many of those are Brady’s yards as as well, he just now has a running back who can make the most of a great passing game.
This is a week where every single player in our secondary needs to bring their A. For starters, I just don’t know if I could watch another game where the Dolphins’ back field looks like a bunch of freshman high schoolers in way over their heads; at times, it has been embarrassing. But secondly, and most of all, the Patriots’ offensive will be unforgiving, and if the back field of our defense have a bad game, then it’s going to be a very long day indeed. I still have nightmares from last season’s opening as Brady kicked off his season’s campaign with 547 yards and Welker took one 99 yards to the house.
To give these guys a chance, Brady needs to be under pressure; he needs to have no time. He needs to feel the blitz coming from all sides and up the middle, getting in his face before he even knows what’s happening. It’s not going to matter how well Tannehill and company play if Brady is allowed to do his thing, and as much as we need to see an impressive offensive performance on Sunday, our defense HAVE to be the ones that win this. I cannot stress this enough. Wake has been consistently great and I am pegging him to be our man on Sunday. If he can lay out Brady a couple times early in the game, get Brady feeling a little trigger happy, to lose confidence in his O-line’s ability to protect him from the phenom that is Cameron Wake, then the Dolphins stand a chance. As a somewhat added bonus Brady will be missing one of his favorite targets in Rob Gronkowskie, not that its helped the Jets last week. But the Jets are a team in absolute disarray, the Dolphins are and will be prove to be much tougher competition.
On the flip side of their dominating offense, we see a different kind of Patriots team, a team that without Brady would fail to be relevant and fail to stay in the majority of games that they play. The Patriots have a rather suspect defense. I will concede that some of the numbers are rather skewed by their offensive capabilities. When a team is constantly behind in a game, one tends to see the OC go to the pass more and more. The Patriots give up a whopping 390.2 yards a game, thats good for 27th in the NFL and certainly good enough to keep oppositions in the fight. Their secondary is mostly responsible for this, allowing 289.4 passing a game, and ranking 29th in the league. That’s why this Sunday, Sherman is going to have to look downfield early and often and Tannehill is going to have to make sure he doesn’t force turnovers, which woul destroy this week because the Patriots simply don’t do it and we don’t make them happen, the Dolphins are now four games without getting a defensive turnover.
I’m not sure who exactly is going to stretch the field for the Phins on Sunday, but the secondary of that team is going to need to be challenged. If we can do that, hopefully we see a lot more space opening up for the likes of Bess.
Ultimately, though, this seems like a David and Goliath matchup; fortunately, David beat Goliath. For the Dolphins to do the same they will need to be near perfect in every facet of the game: great defense, great offense, great special teams, good field position from Marcus Thigpen and soon to be pro-bowler Brandon Fields, and smart coaching. And for the love of God, DO NOT TURN THE BALL OVER!!!