The big bad Patriots come into town this week, ranked in the top 5 by many sources, and top 3 by some. The Patriots have improved on defense each week, and at 9-3, they have a comfortable lead in the AFC East. On the other hand, the Dolphins are still alive for a wildcard berth in the playoffs as we are the #7 seed in the AFC at the moment. Time for some payback fellas! The Patriots demolished the Dolphins up in Foxborough, now it’s our turn to take one at home.
We were a different team last time we played the Patriots. We had all of our small, speedy receivers like Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant and Danny Amendola. This time, Wilson and Grant are both on I/R, and Amendola who was inactive against the Bills is still nursing a knee injury, so the Patriots will be seeing a different Miami offense. It’s time for the young dog (Gase) to teach the old dog (Belichick) a lesson. Belichick easily neutralized or smaller receivers lining up in the nickel and dime formations and not allowing them any space on screens and short passes, and we had no answer. I’d like to see Gase find answers this week. The Patriots had the ball for just over 36 minutes, but managed 449 yards of offense. RB Sony Michel carried 25 times for 112 yards and Brady spread the ball around to numerous receivers.
The Dolphins need to hold on to the ball in this game. TE A.J. Derby was put on I/R (join the club!), but we still have 3 TE’s, and I think it’s time to use them. We haven’t featured many 3 TE sets, and we surely haven’t featured Mike Gesicki. Let’s get O’Leary and Smythe out there as extra blockers and run the ball down their throats. Who knows, if we run the ball well, maybe Gesicki or Smythe or O’Leary sneak out for a big reception. We don’t have to open this way either, just have a few wrinkles the Patriots haven’t seen, in other words, don’t be so conventional. We know the Patriots will likely out execute most teams, but if you give something they don’t expect, maybe you get results.
This past week against the Bills, I saw some things I really liked. First of all, it may have been my favorite game this season because it looked to me like Gase took the training wheels off of QB Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill rewarded his HC with one of his best games and the win. If Amendola can’t go, we’re likely to see Stills, Parker, Butler, Carroo and Isaiah Ford at WR. That’s a lot more size than the last time we faced them. The Patriots do have 2 “big” CB’s in McCourty and Gilmore, both 6 feet. I think this is a game where we need to out-physical the Patriots and and also outsmart them. Not an easy task with the Evil Emperor stalking the Patriots sidelines, a veteran of many intergalactic takeovers. We have 3 running backs, I hope we use them all. Run Gore with 2 or 3 TE’s and impose our will. Tire them out some and put Drake in to break one or beat a LB in coverage. Let Ballage get some carries, and please, please find a way to pick up a 3rd and short. I think the big issue there is we really have no reliable interior OL to get some room, and that definitely is a hindrance. Heck, get Asiata in there for one of those plays, he’ll be fresh and all he has to do is get some push. Put him in as a FB, create a small package of plays for him, make it happen!
The stats don’t give us much of a chance, the Patriots are scoring nearly 28 PPG, allowing only 21.6 PPG. We’re scoring only 20.3 PPG, and allowing 25 PPG. So what, all that goes in the trash when the teams hit the field. O’Leary must be thrilled he got a 1 YR extension, but that kid plays hard, and everyone else on this team needs to do the same. Tannehill played tough last week, he got hit on what seemed like every other throw, and yet he played very well, one of his best. Build on that. Let Tannehill continue to throw the ball downfield, and try and exploit certain matchups. Don’t be complacent, and please don’t go in there and be cautious and revert back to that lame bubble screen offense, I swear I might blow a gasket if we do. The Patriots need to keep pace for home field, they currently trail the Chiefs who are 10-2, and are tied with the Texans at 9-3. They need this game, but I’d like to show them we need it more. Go get ’em Dolphins! Statement game!