The Miami Dolphins wrap up their 2012 season against an opponent they saw earlier this month. The Dolphins will head to Foxboro to take on the AFC East Champion New England Patriots for the second time in 4 weeks. A tough task, right? The task for the Dolphins is made more difficult by the fact that the Patriots have a lot to play for on Sunday. While the Dolphins will immediately turn their attention towards the 2013 season on Monday, the Patriots will be doing work for their upcoming playoff matchup. The Patriots have already secured a home game, but they are looking for more. If the Patriots win and either the Texans or Broncos lose, the Patriots would have a bye next week. If both of those teams lose and the Patriots win, the Patriots would have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. So yeah, this game means something to them.
Photo Courtesy of Dolphins.com
For the Dolphins, this game is about ending the season with momentum. I know, I know, momentum doesn’t necessarily carry over to the following season in the NFL. But wouldn’t 8-8 feel better than 7-9? Wouldn’t a win in Foxboro give Joe Philbin and Ryan Tannehill something to build on for next year? Both are rookies at their positions and it would be encouraging to see them finish the season, winners of 3 straight games.
The Dolphins lost the earlier matchup between these two teams, 23-16 in a game that they played pretty well. The Dolphins limited the high powered Patriots offense to just 23 points, when they’ve averaged over 35 per game this season. They’ll need to do that and then some, this time around. More importantly, the Dolphins offense needs to score more points. The Dolphins settled for 3 Dan Carpenter field goals in the first matchup and will need to turn those into touchdowns, if they want to win this game. Here’s a look at the rest of the Dolphins gameplan for this week’s season finale against the Patriots:
Control the clock
In the last game, the Patriots controlled the clock for 7 more minutes than the Dolphins. For the Dolphins to control the clock, they need to get Reggie Bush and Lamar Miller going. The Dolphins offensive line needs to replicate what they did last week against the Bills and win the line of scrimmage. Bush and Miller, for their part, need to hit the holes hard and not dance around in the backfield. Creating favorable 3rd down opportunities will be key. The Dolphins offense isn’t one that is going to convert a lot of 3rd and 12′s. 3rd and 4 or less would be ideal for their young quarterback. If the Dolphins can win their individual battles in the trenches, they will allow Tannehill to move the chains with his arm or with his legs. (cont’d on page 2, click below)