Week 13: New England Patriots At Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Oakland Raiders v Miami Dolphins
Winner Tom Brady is perhaps the sharpest quarterback in the league. When it comes to understanding what opposing defenses can and can’t do, Brady is at the top of the list. He is also close to the best when it comes to passing accuracy, arm strength and quick release. He understands as much about offensive gam eplanning as Bill Belichick.
Ryan Tannehill is exceeding expectations for his rookie performance. He has a great rapport with offensive coordinator Mike Sherman and that has allowed him to make wonderful progress. Tannehill has a quick release and is an accurate passer.
Winner The Patriots have a well-round offensive game. Stevan Ridley is a hard-nosed running back who takes just enough pressure off of Brady and the passing game. While the Patriots suffered a serious blow when they lost Rob Gronkowski (arm), they have plenty of weapons including Wes Welker, Julian Edelman and Aaron Hernandez who can make game-changing plays.
The running game is not much of an option for the Dolphins at this point. Reggie Bush had 87 yards in the Week 12 win over Seattle, but he lacks dependability. Brian Hartline is an excellent route runner who knows how to get open. Davone Bess has improved quite a bit since the start of the season.
Winner Give credit to the Patriots for making moves with their secondary. It was awful early in the year, but there are signs that it is improving, thanks to Aqib Talib and improvement from some of the unit’s young players. The run defense has been solid throughout the season and Vince Wilfork can dominate the interior play with his bulk and quickness.
Winner The Dolphins have played well on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive end Cameron Wake has become a big-time pass rusher. He leads the Dolphins with 9.5 sacks and has an excellent first step when rushing the quarterback. Linebacker Karlos Dansby is a tackling machine. He leads the team with 83 tackles and he also has seven passes defensed.
Special Teams
Winner Edelman has been a revelation on special teams, both as a returner and in coverage. He has the speed to break a long return and he was in the right place at the right time when he picked up a Jets fumble on a kickoff and return it for a touchdown. The combination of Stephen Gostkowski and Zoltan Mesko is quite underrated.
The Dolphins have done a solid job with their coverage teams this year. They have an advantage in both punt and kickoff returns. Marcus Thigpen has returned both a punt and a kickoff return for a touchdown this season. Dan Carpenter is a good but not great NFL kicker.

The Winner Is

New England Patriots v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winner Patriots
4 out of 4

The Dolphins can’t match the Patriots in talent, but they have played very well under rookie head coach Joe Philbin and gotten the most out of their ability. An upset over the Patriots would be a signature win. They would probably have to register at least three takeaways to have a chance. Brady has been sharp, so it will be difficult.


  1. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Sam Bradford #8 of the Minnesota Vikings throws a pass in the first quarter against Brandon Graham #55 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Vikings 21-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) GREENBAY, WI - OCTOBER 20: Running back Jordan Howard #24 of the Chicago Bears is tackled by nose tackle Kenny Clark #97 and cornerback Demetri Goodson #39 of the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
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  2. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles avoids Everson Griffen #97 of the Minnesota Vikings as he runs for a first down during the second quarter of a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to pass against the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Green Bay Packers 30-16.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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  3. GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Running back David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football during the NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals and Seahawks tied 6-6.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 16: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers scrambles out of the pocked during the first half of a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 16, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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