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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / The Keys to a New England win over Miami

The Keys to a New England win over Miami

Publish Date: 01/01/2023
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
Keys to a Patriots win

The New England Patriots (7-8) will host the Miami Dolphins (8-7) in the biggest game of the year for both teams. To keep it simple, whoever loses this game will have a very difficult time making the playoffs. With that being said, letโ€™s dive into the keys to winning for the Patriots.

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Control The Tempo On Offense

ย The Patriots have a ton of injuries on both sides of the ball, notably in the secondary. That means the offense will have to do their fair share this time around and control the tempo.

The Dolphins defense has not played good football during their four-game losing streak, ranking 25th in EPA/play during that stretch. Most of that damage has been through the air, according to advanced analytics. They rank 14th in rush EPA during that stretch, mostly because of the great play of defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.

Granted, the Patriots have faced their fair share of poor defenses and have still struggled to move the ball. Perhaps the offenseโ€™s performance in the fourth quarter against the Bengals, when they allowed quarterback Mac Jones and wide receiver Kendrick Bourne to make plays down the field, will be a factor in this weekโ€™s game plan. Check out the top sportsbooks for betting on the NFL.

Play Conservatively On Defense

ย I am usually not a fan of conservative game plans on either side of the ball, but the Patriots have no choice but to play it safe on defense.

Going up against two of the fastest players in the league in wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, the Patriots defense did an okay job in their week one matchup. Hill posted eight catches for 94 yards, while Waddle had four grabs for 69 yards and the lone offensive score for the Dolphins.

This time, it looks like the Patriots will be missing three cornerbacks in this crucial matchup. Jalen Mills, Jack Jones and Marcus Jones have not practiced this week and are trending to be ruled out for Sunday. Jonathan Jones has logged limited practices but his status seems to be trending in the right direction.

With all those bodies potentially out, the Patriots will be playing the likes of Miles Bryant and Shaun Wade more often than usual. I expect the Patriots to play a lot of cover two, two man under and with multiple safeties on the field on most downs.

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Patriots Defensive Line Has To Step Up

ย This one goes hand in hand with the previous key. If the Patriots are going to drop back seven or eight men in coverage, pass rushers such as Matt Judon, Josh Uche and Christian Barmore will be relied on to generate pressure on their own.

The Dolphins have a couple solid players on the offensive line, highlighted by tackle Terron Armstead and guard Robert Hunt. But starting right tackle Brandon Shell has really struggled this season, ranking 128th out of 140 offensive linemen with at least 350 pass-blocking snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.

Judon is the one who lines up opposite of the offenseโ€™s right tackle, so look for him to be in the backfield early and often.

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