Dec 24, 2011; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker (with ball) is tackled by Miami Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith (24) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE
I’ll give you a moment to finish laughing…Ok, all set? Now back to the original statement, the Dolphins can beat the Patriots. This game is by far the most daunting challenge for the Dolphins this year. The Houston Texans game was a tough game, but it was only game 1 and no one expected the Dolphins to win. Likewise this week, no one expects the Dolphins to win this week, but the implications if they do are far greater.
The AFC is getting more and more intriguing each week. The Bengals are starting to resemble to team everyone assumed they would be. Andy Dalton is getting consistent and A.J. Green is scary good. The Steelers could start to tumble further and further if Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t get real healthy real soon. All these doings could open the door for the Dolphins in the Wild Card.
Winning the AFC East over the Patriots might be a statistical possibility, but it just isn’t going to happen. This week is important because if the Dolphins want any chance to even challenge for the Wild Card they cannot afford to lose. Obviously they can’t afford any losses but this particular one could decide the rest of the season.
Reverting back to how it is even possible the Dolphins could beat the Patriots, and it can be done, the Dolphins need to be absolutely perfect. The Patriots thrive on turnovers, something the Dolphins have had some issues with this season. There are not many teams that can force mistakes the way the Patriots defense does.
I know how ridiculous it sounds to say good things about the Patriots defense, but when it comes to turnovers every word is true. What the Patriots defense does do that can help the Dolphins, is make opposing quarterbacks look awesome. The Patriots can make any quarterback look like Peyton Manning, the Dolphins need to capitalize on this.
Just looking at yardage and touchdowns gives a pretty astonishing look into the Patriots secondary. In 7 games against Jake Locker, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Russell Wilson, Mark Sanchez, and Andrew Luck; the Patriots have allowed 2,172 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 63% completions. These are bad-subpar quarterbacks putting up huge numbers. The only reason the Patriots win these games is turnovers.
Those same 7 games that these numbers were allowed, the Patriots had 16 forced fumbles and 11 interceptions. Playing against the Patriots is all about ball control. When you play the Patriots you cannot give them any extra advantages, they do not need them to win, and doing so only makes it easier.
The biggest concern for the Dolphins aside from needing a perfect offensive game is their secondary. Much like the Patriots defense, the Dolphins have some issues giving up big plays. Each game it seems like the Dolphins need to learn how to cover and tackle. The difference here is that Tom Brady will find the holes in coverage and exploit them for 60 minutes. The Patriots have fast physical receivers, give them and inch and they will definitely take a yard.
One thing that has helped the Patriots all season is their run game. For the first time since Corey Dillon the Pats can run effectively. One of the Dolphins biggest strengths has been their run defense. This is no time to change that. Steven Ridley has to be shut down to make the Pats less dimensional. Brady will throw it 40 times if you make him, which doesn’t necessarily help, but it leaves more opportunity to create mistakes.
Cameron Wake needs to be on Brady all day long like white on rice. The Patriots offensive line is getting much better, but the Dolphins need to find holes. They have an elite quarterback, but we have an elite defensive end.
Everything in this article is cliché. Ball control, efficient offense, and shutdown defense are needed to win. Duh. This can be said for every NFL game every week every year, but for the Dolphins to win this game it has to be the perfect storm.
Everybody outside of Miami (and probably most people in Miami) have already put this game in the Patriots win column. Joe Philbin needs to take a play out of Bill Belichick’s book and use this to motivate his players to prove everyone wrong.