The New England Patriots are in the midst of an unprecedented run of success within the AFC East and can clinch their 10th consecutive division title with a victory at the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon. The Patriots trail Kansas City by one game for the best record in the AFC but they have struggled in Miami with four losses in their last five visits.
New England quarterback Tom Brady has won 12 of his last 13 against AFC East opponents, but he has a losing record (7-9) against the Dolphins in Miami, including a 27-20 setback a year ago. “I think the climate plays some role and they always seem to play well when they play us down there,” Brady said. “We’re going up against a good opponent that plays us very well at home. We play them very well at home. It is just one of those series where it is kind of like that.” The Dolphins have dropped six of nine since opening the season with three wins in a row, a swoon that started with a 38-7 mauling at New England in Week 4. Still, Miami is among a cluster of four teams with 6-6 records that trail Baltimore by one game for the final playoff berth in the conference.
Ryan Tannehill made his second start since missing five games with a shoulder injury and threw for three touchdowns in last week’s 21-17 win over Buffalo despite mustering only 137 yards passing. Miami is one of five teams averaging fewer than 200 yards passing but leading receiver Danny Amendola, who played the previous five seasons with the Patriots, is on track to return to the lineup after sitting out last week’s matchup. Frank Gore leads the ground game with 616 yards rushed but he failed to get 10 carries for the first time in nine games and was limited to 21 yards against Buffalo. The Dolphins will be without star cornerback Xavien Howard, the NFL leader with seven interceptions.
PICK: sweet and short Dolphins here +8 taking the points.