Patriots - Dolphins: What They Have To Do

When the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins meet, it will be a battle of David vs Goliath. Patriots Insider details what each team has to do to win on Sunday.

Patriots

Score Early - The Patriots have had trouble scoring double-digits in the first quarter in recent games. New England has scored doubt digit points in the first quarter only twice in the past 7 games. In their first seven games, the Patriots scored double-digit points in the first quarter 5 of their first 7 contests. Putting the Dolphins behind by double digits will limit their ability to run the ball, and force Miami to try to keep up with New England through the air. Miami's offense is ranked 25th in the league.

Win The Third Down Battle - If the Patriots want to snuff out any hope of the Dolphins ability to stay in the game, they have to win the battle on third down. The Patriots defense had trouble getting some teams off the field in recent contests. Overall the Patriots have limited opponents to just 32.9 percent conversion on third downs.

Turnovers - Bill Belichck spent a lot of time talking about the letdowns the Patriots have had in years past against teams they should have beaten. The Patriots are three touchdown favorites for Sunday's game. With a +19 turnover differential, New England leads the NFL in that category. The (9-4) Patriots lost to an underrated (6-7) Miami team in 2006 when they gave away the ball in three of their four fumbles on the day. New England has won or tied the turnover battle every game this year.

Dolphins

Maintain Drives - The Dolphins need to emulate what was successful for other teams this season against the Patriots - maintain possession by keeping drives going. If the Dolphins can maintain some drives on offense, then they can keep Tom Brady off the field. Giving their defense a rest is critical for the Dolphins who need more form their 28th ranked offense.

Create Turnovers - The Dolphins need to do something to get more opportunities to score on offense. If they can create a turnover on defense to get good field position, then their offense may be able to put points on the board. For Miami, the more opportunities to put points on the board, the better their chances to stay in the game.

Run, Run, Run - If the Dolphins want to keep the Patriots form teeing off on Cleo Lemon, they'll need to establish a running game. Although Ronnie Brown was lost for the season with an injury, the Dolphins still have Jessie Chapman, Samkon Gado and Lorenzo Booker.


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