Friday, November 6, 2009

Dolphins Face Divisional Turning Point

November 6, 2009

The difference between three games back and one game away in the AFC East division standings hangs on the outcome of Sunday afternoon's match-up at Gillette Stadium. The infamous unleashing of the Wildcat occurred last time Miami rolled into Foxborough, Massachusetts, as the Dolphins dominated their division foes. The same cannot be expected this time around as New England will prepare for Miami's dynamic offense with extra emphasis.

The Patriots are favored to win by an average of 10 1/2 points, but that should not be a cause for concern for the Dolphins. The Pats have only been able to muster a 10-8 record against the Dolphins since Bill Belichick took the helm as head coach in 2000. So, don't plan on predicting the outcome of this game, when these two teams face off the results can be surprising.

We break down the factors that play in favor of and against the Dolphins:

In Favor of Miami
  • Joey Porter recorded the most sacks in a single game in Dolphins history when he faced the Patriots on September 21, 2008. It was a total of four sacks.
  • Jason Taylor has recorded 12 sacks in 22 games against the Patriots, totaling 74 yards lost by New England.
  • Both Porter (85.5 sacks) and Taylor (126 sacks) combine for the greatest sack duo currently in the NFL - 211.5 total sacks registered.
  • Yeremiah Bell is averaging over 6 tackles per game this season and leads the team in total tackles. In 2008, Bell recorded 15 tackles in two games against New England.
  • Chad Henne in his first four starts is averaging a completion percentage of 62, 170 yards per game and has a record of 3-1.
Against Miami
  • The last time a QB threw for 6 touchdowns in a game against Miami was October 21, 2007. His name was Tom Brady.
  • The last time Miami allowed 400+ passing yards it was against the Patriots on November 23, 2008. Matt Cassel was New England's QB at the time.
  • The last time the Dolphins allowed two receivers to catch over 100 yards receiving was November 23, 2008 against the Patriots. Randy Moss (125) and Wes Welker (120) combined for 245 total receiving yards.
  • The Dolphins are allowing 236 net passing yards per game this season. Tom Brady is averaging 290 passing yards per game this season.
  • Miami's turnover differential is -2 thus far, having turned over the ball 11 times and forced 9 turnovers.
Final Word

Miami will need to suppress Tom Brady's arm if they hope to keep the score within reach and compete in a hostile environment. Dolphins' CBs Vontae Davis and Sean Smith will have their hands full with Randy Moss and Wes Welker - their toughest test of the season. Fortunately, Miami has a history of applying pressure against Brady and disrupting the Patriots' offense.

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