Miami kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 21-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills. But they face a formidable task in facing the New England Patriots who simply don’t lose in December.
Tom Brady and his teammates let Minnesota hang around for a while, before scoring two quick touchdowns and shutting out the Vikings the rest of the second half. It was efficient and rather ho-hum; typical of the New England routine as they head into the home stretch.
New England knows they have to win out to assure at least one home playoff date. That is important to Bill Belichick and Brady, and if they feel a game is important, they are extremely likely to win that game.
Everything they do now is setting them up for the playoffs. They reactivated Rex Burkhead last week and Brady wasted no time in hitting him for a 20 yard gain. The running back by committee approach will be defined, as will the pecking order in the passing game.
Belichick’s defense mostly had their way with the Vikings as they crank up their effectiveness in time for the postseason.
Miami is one of four 6-6 teams chasing the 7-5 Ravens (or 7-4-1 Steelers) for the second wild card. The 9-3 Chargers (or the 10-2 Chiefs) will secure the first wild card. The Dolphins know that losses to the Patriots and the desperate Vikings could make their final two games against the Jaguars and Bills meaningless.
Injuries and notes
For Miami, Danny Amendola (knee) is questionable along with center Travis Swanson (ankle). Tight end AJ Derby is out.
New England’s early injury lists consist only of backup tight end Dwight Allen, questionable with a knee injury.
Bill Belichick has his team flowing into the playoffs. Other than the Titans’ upset a couple of weeks ago, everything seems to be on cruise control in New England. Belichick showed some unusual emotion on the sideline last week when he offered some extracurricular entertainment options to Adam Thielen after the Minnesota receiver questioned the legitimacy of a Patriots injury.
His players were a little shocked but found the episode rather funny afterward.
Adam Gase isn’t showing too many signs of stress, which probably doesn’t mean he knows a 7-9 record might put his job security into question. Coming into 2018, Gase acknowledged that the Gase-Tannehill combination was under scrutiny and could end if the team did not show signs of playoff worthiness. Whether a near-miss is good enough or not remains to be seen.
How to watch the Dolphins-Patriots game
Fans in New England and most of Florida can watch the CBS Sports production of this game on their favorite internet connected device if they subscribe to Fubo TV.
Fubo TV is a leading provider of internet television programming, which is basically the same as cable and satellite, but with the freedom to watch your favorite shows on your smartphone or computer.
Of course, a simple connection puts Fubo TV, DirecTV Now, or Sling TV on your regular television, too. These companies offer the local and national channels you need to follow your favorite NFL team, plus all the movie and entertainment networks you love for just a fraction of what cable and satellite companies charge.
There’s no expensive and ugly equipment to put on your house and Fubo, Sling, and DirecTV Now will never lock you into a contract.
Take advantage of the free trials offered by Fubo TV, DirecTV Now, and Sling TV to see why you should dump your cable or satellite provider this week.
Who will win the Dolphins-Patriots game?
You can almost never predict a good division game, except when it comes to the recent history of the Patriots in the AFC East. It has been a while since anyone pulled off an upset and it doesn’t look likely to start this week.