PLENTY OF RESPECT

There are many fans and observers who will tell you the New England Patriots have to be the luckiest team in the NFL this season, with their penchant for pulling out close game after close game. Dolphins players, at least publicly, will tell they simply deserve credit for being to make the big plays at crucial times.

A perfect example of New England's season came Sunday when they stopped the Colts after Indy had a first-and-goal from the 2 to preserve a 38-34 victory.

Needless to say, several Dolphins players watched the game, yelling plays to the Colts and simply trying to cheer them on to victory.

It had to be a major letdown for the Dolphins when the Pats prevailed, but it's nothing the Dolphins can do anything about this week.

All they can do is go out and take care of their own business at Gillette Stadium this weekend.

Not even last year's season finale at Foxboro is a factor for the Dolphins, even though you would think the revenge factor would provide plenty of motivation.

The Dolphins have to be more concerned, actually, about keeping the winning streak going if they hope to keep alive their chances of winning the AFC East or at least make the playoffs.

The Dolphins are well aware a loss clinches the division title for New England, so as sweet as getting some revenge would be on Sunday, it's not as significant as what the game means for this year.

"It would be one thing if it were the last game of the season and it was a situation where if we win we would knock them out," said defensive end Jason Taylor. "It would be different. But there are four games to go in this season and this is a huge one for us."

As for the Patriots' luck, defensive tackle Larry Chester has the simple answer: "We're going to try to eliminate the luck factor."


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