#324 Miami Dolphinsvs.#323 New England Patriots
Sunday, January 1 2017, at 1:00pm EST
Written by Adam Rauzino
New England Patriots (13-2; 12-3 ATS: 5-10 O/U) vs. Miami Dolphins (10-5; 9-6 ATS: 11-4 O/U)
NFL: Sunday, January 1, 2017 at 1:00pm EST
Line: New England -9.5
The Miami Dolphins will host the New England Patriots in an AFC East battle Sunday afternoon from Hard Rock Stadium. The Patriots are coming off an easy 41-3 win over the Jets, and the Dolphins edged the Bills 34-31 in overtime last week. The Patriots beat Miami 31-24 back in week two. Tom Brady and Matt Moore did not play in that contest, and LaGarrette Blount rushed for 123 yards for the Patriots.
The New England Patriots were at their best in a dominating 41-3 win over the Jets last week. Tom Brady was solid, throwing for 214 yards with three touchdowns with no interceptions. The four-time Superbowl champion is having another incredible season, accumulating 3278 passing yards with a dazzling 25:2 TD to INT ratio in 11 games played. Julian Edelman led all receivers with five catches for 89 yards in the win. Edelman has played well as the Patriots go-to guy in the air after the injuries to Gronkowski and Amendola, and has now recorded a team-leading 955 receiving yards on the season. LaGarrette Blount found the back of the end zone twice in the win over the Jets, and has increased his team-leading touchdown total to 17. Blount now leads the NFL with 17 rushing touchdowns. The Patriots will get a first round bye in the AFC and have to be considered a Superbowl favorite with their strong play. New England is now scoring an average of 27.1 points per game, good for third int he NFL.
The Patriots defense was outstanding once again in the win over the Jets, allowing only 239 total yards, and held the Jets to a 1 for 11 efficiency on third downs. The Patriots defense is looking very strong heading into playoffs and have shut down most running games this season. New England now features the top ranked defense in the NFL, now conceding an average of 15.7 points per game.
The Miami Dolphins got the job done again last week, defeating the Bills 34-31 in overtime, notching their second straight win without Ryan Tannehill. Matt Moore was solid, throwing for 233 yards with two touchdowns with one interception in the win. The 32-year old quarterback has been impressive in his two starts in Ryan Tannehill’s absence, throwing for 516 yards with six touchdowns with two interceptions. The big story in the win was the performance of Jay Ajayi who rushed for 206 yards with a touchdown. Ajayi was quiet over his last few games but really stepped up this week, leading his team to victory. The second-year running back has now recorded 1213 rushing yards with eight touchdowns, averaging 5 yards per carry. Ajayi will likely have to put on another outstanding performance for his team to beat the Patriots. Jarvis Landry did not have a big game but DeVante Parker stepped up, making four grabs for 85 yards. Parker is now second in team receiving behind Landry with 699 receiving yards. The Dolphins have now won nine out of their last ten games and have earned their first playoff berth since 2008. Miami is scoring an average of 23.3 points per game, ranking them 16th in the NFL.
The Dolphins defense did not play well in the win, conceding 329 passing yards and 128 rushing yards. Miami has struggled to stop the run all season, but have fared well defending the pass. Miami is now allowing an average of 23 points per game, placing them 14th in the NFL.
The New England Patriots are:
The Miami Dolphins are:
I am taking the points with the Dolphins in this one. Although the Patriots are playing for the first seed, the spread seems a big high and I think the Dolphins can at least keep it close and cover the points. Dolphins head coach Adam Gase stated he in unlikely to rest any starters as Miami could still move up a seed, so this game does have meaning to them. The Dolphins offense has been consistent, scoring 26 or more points in eight out of their last ten games. I am counting on another another great game from Jay Ajayi, and I think he will be able to move the ball on the ground. The Dolphins own a decent defense that should be able to slow down Brady and cover the points. Miami has been finding a way to consistently score a lot of points and got the job done, and while I do not think they they will win, I definitely think they will keep this closer than the spread indicates.
The Patriots continue to score a lot of points every week and that should continue against the Dolphins average defense, plus the over is 6-2 in their last eight games after a straight up win of more than 14 points. Brady will throw for a few touchdowns and Blount should find the end zone for New England. The Dolphins have been finding ways to score a lot of points each week and should have some success on their home field. The over has hit in five straight games for the Dolphins and I think that trend continues in this one.
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Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball and football. Adam enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about about various sports as well as personal finance. He graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance.