DATE: Sunday, Jan. 3
TIME: 1 p.m. ET
SITE: Sun Life Stadium; Miami Gardens, Fla.
TV ANNOUNCERS: (Kevin Harlan, play-by-play; Rich Gannon, color analyst)
DOLPHINS RADIO NETWORK: Clear Channel, WBGG (105.9 FM) and a network of affiliates throughout Florida; WNMA (1210 AM-Spanish)
RADIO VOICES: English broadcast — Jimmy Cefalo, Bob Griese, Joe Rose, Kim Bokamper; Spanish broadcast — Raul Striker Jr., Eduardo Martell
SERIES RECORD: Miami leads 52-48 (including playoffs)
AT MIAMI: Dolphins lead 35-14
AT NEW ENGLAND: Patriots lead 33-17
AT TAMPA: Patriots lead 1-0
LAST MEETING: 2015 at New England; Patriots 36, Dolphins 7
HISTORY LESSON: One of the more bizarre finishes to a game in Dolphins history occurred in the season finale against the Patriots — on Dec. 24, 2000 to be precise. It was a good ending for the Dolphins, as they pulled out a 27-24 victory at what was then called Foxboro Stadium to clinch the AFC East title. The Dolphins won on a 49-yard field goal by Olindo Mare with nine seconds left, but what made the ending bizarre was what happened next. After the field goal, Mare squib-kicked and linebacker Tedy Bruschi returned the kickoff 6 yards to the Patriots 40-yard line. After Drew Bledsoe — in his last season finale as Patriots starter before Tom Brady took over — threw an incomplete pass, everyone thought the game was over. But the officials eventually determined that 3 seconds should have been left on the clock and the teams were summoned back to the field for one final play — after a 35-minute delay. Michael Bishop took that final snap for the Patriots and his pass attempt for Terry Glenn fell incomplete, ending the game once and for all.
SERIES TREND: The Dolphins will try to make it three in a row at home against the Patriots, following a 24-20 victory in December 2013 and a 33-20 decision in the 2014 season opener. The last time the Dolphins beat New England three consecutive times at Sun Life Stadium was from 1998-2000.
PATRIOTS’ 2015 RECORD: 12-3
LAST GAME: Lost 26-20 in overtime at N.Y. Jets
OVERVIEW: The Patriots will finish with 12 or more victories for the seventh consecutive season and the only question now is whether they will have the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs. They had a chance last Sunday to clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, but lost in overtime after winning the coin toss and electing to kick the ball. It was the second overtime loss this season for New England, whose only other loss was a seven-point decision (34-27) against the Philadelphia Eagles.
KEY NEW FACES: DT Malcom Brown (draft-1st), DB Jordan Richards (draft-2nd), G Tré Jackson (draft-4th), G Shaq Mason (draft-4th), TE Scott Chandler (San Diego), DE Jabaal Sheard (Cleveland), LB Jonathan Freeny (Miami), LB Jon Bostic (Chicago), DT Akiem Hicks (New Orleans), WR Keshawn Martin (Houston), RB Steven Jackson (Atlanta), CB Leonard Johnson (Tampa Bay), T LaAdrian Waddle (Detroit)
KEY VETERANS GONE: CB Darrelle Revis, RB Shane Vereen, RB Stevan Ridley, TE Tim Wright, DT Vince Wilfork, CB Brandon Browner, T Nate Solder (injured reserve), DE Chris Jones (PUP), RB Dion Lewis (IR), WR Aaron Dobson (IR), DT Dominique Easley (IR), RB LeGarrette Blount (IR)