The challenge for the Miami Dolphins this Sunday will be to turn around the three game slide against the first place team in the AFC East in New England. The Patriots are 24-3 at home since 2010, so the Dolphins must play their most complete game of the season to come away with a victory. This is not the most dominating Patriots team of recent years, but if the Dolphins can protect the football on Sunday, they can win their fourth game of the season. Here's what I'll be looking for as the keys to victory on Sunday afternoon.
1) Control Tom Brady - Tom Brady is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but his supporting cast isn't striking fear in opposing defenses like they have in the past. Brady is only completing 55.8 percent of this passes, and has only eight touchdowns on the season. He's been sacked 20 times and that's where the Dolphins defense needs to excel. In past games where Brady has struggled, players like Cam Wake have affected the timing in the pocket, and made Brady move off of his spot. The push from the front seven is paramount in controlling his effectiveness, and will provide the secondary opportunities to make plays on the football. This is a game of taking away the time in the passing game and Miami needs to win the one on one battles up front to have success.
2) Get The Lead - If the Dolphins are going to win this Sunday, they must start fast and take control early in the game. That means generating some big plays on offense and getting off of the field defensively. This cannot be a game where we have multiple three and outs on offense in the first quarter! Score first and keep the pressure on the Patriots who are only averaging 21.7 points per game. If that happens, New England might abandon the running game and I like the match-ups of the Dolphins secondary against players like wide outs Kenbrell Thomkins and Aaron Dobson.
3) Keep The Rust On Gronk - Tight end Rob Gronkowski was targeted 17 times last week in this first appearance of the season, and I'm sure that number will be high again this Sunday. The big question will be how Miami decides to handle the 6-6 difference maker all over the field, especially in the red zone. Can linebackers
4) Protect The Football And Pocket - This has been a problem that has plagued quarterback
5) Martin and Possibly McKinnie - I'm not sure how the Dolphins are going to line up along the offensive line on Sunday. It's a possibility that