Tale Of The Tape: New England Patriots At Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots
Miami Dolphins
(credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
(credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
(credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
(credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Winner After a mediocre start, Tom Brady has turned his season around and has led the Patriots to three remarkable come-from-behind victories in the last three games. Brady reads defenses well and spreads the ball around to his receivers. Brady is completing 60.8 percent of his passes and has a 21-9 TD-interception ratio.
Ryan Tannehill has exceeded expectations for the Dolphins in his first two years, but if he is going to establish himself as one of the game’s better quarterbacks he has more work to do. That work includes leading the Dolphins to the playoffs. While they need help, Tannehill will have to perform well in this game against New England’s vulnerable defense.
Winner The Patriots suffered a major blow in their Week 14 victory over the Cleveland Browns when tight end Rob Gronkowski suffered a severe knee injury (torn ACL and MCL). Gronkowski’s strength and power after the catch made him the Pats’ most important player other than Brady. Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola will have to do more to make up for his absence.
Winner The Dolphins appeared to be a lost cause at midseason when the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito controversy threatened to wreck the offensive line. Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas have provided a decent punch at the running back position, while wide receiver Brian Hartline can get open and will catch anything he can reach. Speedy Mike Wallace is a dangerous deep threat.
The Patriots’ defense has been torn apart by injuries and head coach Bill Belichick does not have the depth to make up for the losses of Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo. Cornerback Aqib Talib is a solid cover man, and he will have to keep Wallace in check. Defensive end Chandler Jones has a team-high 10.5 sacks and has speed coming around the corner.
Winner The Dolphins rank 16th in overall defense and head coach Joe Philbin regularly gets a solid effort from his players on this side of the ball. Outside linebacker Philip Wheeler is quite underrated. He leads the team with 92 tackles and has the range to go sideline-to-sideline to make tackles. Defensive ends Olivier Vernon (11.5 sacks) and Cameron Wake (7.5 sacks) are capable of causing problems for Brady.
Special Teams
Winner The Patriots made a huge play on special teams when they recovered placekicker Stephen Gostkowski’s onside kick in the final minute of their comeback victory against the Browns. The Pats are solid in their punt and kickoff coverage, while Gostkowski has made 30-of-32 FG attempts.
The Dolphins have done a decent job of covering kickoffs and punts, but they are not a threat to turn a game around with a big play because return specialist Marcus Thigpen is quite ordinary. Caleb Sturgis is an ordinary placekicker (25-of-33) who does not inspire confidence when the game is on the line.

The Winner Is

(credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Winner New England Patriots
3 out of 4

The Dolphins may be catching the Patriots at the right time following the loss of Gronkowski. The Pats have been slow starting and that could cost them against a hungry team playing at home.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor


  1. MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 9: Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans drops back to pass during the first quarter of the game on October 9, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 13:  Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos warms up before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 13, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Week 7 Tale Of The Tape: Houston Texans At Denver Broncos

    The Broncos square off against their former QB as they welcome in Brock Osweiler and the Texans.

  2. SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 16:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes against the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field on October 16, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17:  Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Arizona Cardinals looks to make a pass against the New York Jets in the first half of the NFL game at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 17, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
    Week 7 Tale Of The Tape: Seattle Seahawks At Arizona Cardinals

    The Seahawks face their NFC West foe on the road as the Cardinals look to get above .500 for the first time this season.

  3. FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 16:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots prepares to receive a snap during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on October 16, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Quarterback  Landry Jones #3 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass during warm ups before playing against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
    Week 7 Tale Of The Tape: New England Patriots At Pittsburgh Steelers

    The Patriots are riding high and now face a Steelers team who will be without their starting QB.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Miami

Weather Forecast 24/7
Tracking Hurricane Matthew: Interactive Maps
Check Your Pro Football Challenge Results

Listen Live