The 5 Miami Dolphins players that will decide tonight's victory over the Patriots or cause them to lose

The NFL can sometimes be a game of inches and sometimes a game of seconds, for the Miami Dolphins, tonight's game could come down to the play of five individuals, or the lack of play.
Sep 10, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA;   Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) is
Sep 10, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) is / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
2 of 5

Defensively, Bradley Chubb may need to step up and be the player the Miami Dolphins expected him to be.

Bradley Chubb is going to face a Patriot offense without the help of Jaelan Phillips who may not play tonight. If that happens, the onus to stop the Patriots rushing attack will fall on Chubb and if he continues to play soft along the edge, he will not make plays and the Patriots will have an easy time moving the ball.

So far, Chubb has not been the player Miami had hoped he would turn into. In fact, you could say the six figure salary and first-round draft pick have been a waste. Many fans are pounding their fists that Miami didn't instead trade for Roquan Smith who has been stellar with the Ravens.

Tonight, Chubb has to emerge from whatever hole he has been in mentally. He allows himself to get too upright and as a result can't get leverage on blockers. Against the Patriots he will likely face a weakened line that is battered with injuries. He may also face Mike Gesicki who isn't a great blocker as Miami fans know.

If Chubb can control the edge, the Dolphins will force Mac Jones to make bad decisions or quick decisions that he isn't good at. If he can't control the edge, Jones is going to have a lot of time to let plays develop and when he isn't being harrassed he is far more accurate. Get in his face often and he will be rattled and make mistakes. Chubb has to force mistakes on the Patriots.