By: Jason Sarney
The Miami Dolphins conclude their home schedule on Sunday with a Hard Rock Stadium match-up against the hated New England Patriots. The Dolphins are in a position to make the playoffs, but it has to start with a victory against the Bill Belichick led AFC East foes.
The Dolphins sit at 8-5 with two games following Sunday's contest against the Patriots, however this team cannot look beyond Cam Newton and company. The mobile veteran quarterback carved up Miami’s defense on the ground in their Week 1 meeting for 75 rush yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also went 15 of 19 and no picks.
There is plenty of confidence however, that Brian Flores and his staff can translate adjustments from the Week 1 film to the personnel on field and hope to contain the rushing attack of Newton. Yards will likely be given up, but the Miami defense is 2nd in the NFL in scoring, so the Dolphins could hold the Patriots under 20 points, and it should shock no one.
Offensively, Tua Tagovailoa needs to continue his solid rookie season and keep finding the open man regardless of place on the depth chart. With receivers Preston Williams already hurt followed by injuries against Kansas City to DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant as well as tight end Mike Gesicki, Tua found guys like Lynn Bowden and Mack Hollins in a comeback effort that just fell a bit short.
With signs indicating Gesicki and Parker should play, still watch for Lynn Bowden to continue to get targets from Tua. The rookie from Kentucky, and trade acquisition earlier in the season from the Raiders after they drafted him in the 3rd round, reeled in 7 of his 9 targeted passes Sunday for 82 yards. He even attempted a rush and a pass and looked to take a sweep for yet another throw as well.
Watch for more creativity with the former collegiate “Wildcat,” as a “joker” type player like Bowden is exactly the kind of spark and weapon this team needs against the Patriots.
Additionally, former Patriots Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts look to return to the field after a game absence, clearly in a effort to be ready to face their former mates. Officially listed as Questionable, and limited in Friday’s practice, both need to be on the field. Newton will keep the linebackers busy, so guys like Andrew Van Ginkel, Jerome Baker and those former Pats, need to step up.