Dolphins vs. Patriots: Five things to watch

DAVIE – The Miami Dolphins are prepared to do battle with the New England Patriots for the second time in as many weeks. The last time Miami and New England locked horns, the Dolphins fell to the Patriots 35-17 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA.

The Dolphins scored just one touchdown on offense in its first contest against the Patriots, but they had a revival on the offensive side of the football last week against the Denver Broncos. Miami’s offense erupted for 28 points against the Broncos last week against the No. 3 rated defense in the NFL.

Miami is hopeful that their ability to generate points on offense transfers to Monday night against its AFC East rival on Monday night.


Misdirection with Kenyan Drake

Kenyan Drake is the most explosive back the Dolphins have had since Reggie Bush. However, it has been challenging for the O-line to keep up with his lateral quickness. The Dolphins might very well run more plays with designed cutbacks to help the offensive line maintain and finish blocks while avoiding holding penalties.

Breakout game for DeVante Parker

The Patriots respect Jarvis Landry to the point they often double-team him. As a result, there will be opportunities for DeVante Parker to make plays vertically down the field. Kenny Stills will have opportunities, but Parker is due for a breakout performance. Coach Adam Gase has refrained from forcing the ball to Parker, but this week he won’t have to. He should be able to take advantage of his one-on-one match-ups and have his best game of the season.


Jakeem Grant in the backfield

Jakeem Grant played running back in high school and has a good feel for the position. He carried the ball once from the running back position last week against the Broncos and could get more work at running back on Monday night to keep Drake fresh. Senorise Perry is the Dolphins’ backup running back, but Grant could see more time in the backfield than he did last week.

Bobby McCain on the boundary

Rookie cornerback Cordrea Tankersley is doubtful to compete on Monday night. As a result, Bobby McCain will likely be asked to transition from the slot, to the boundary. McCain is often dismissed as a boundary corner because of his size, but his quickness an underrated physicality enables him to play on the outside. Whether he plays in the slot or along the boundary, McCain should have a solid outing. The only match-up the Dolphins should be somewhat leery of is McCain versus the speedy Brandin Cooks.


Covering Dion Lewis out of the backfield

With tight end Rob Gronkowski serving a one-game suspension following his late hit on Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White, the Patriots will need to find someone to make-up for his production in the passing game. The Patriots have had difficulty in the screen game in recent weeks but they will need to get it going this week in order to sustain offense. Miami’s defensive ends and linebackers will need to work in concert to ensure the Patriots don’t find success in the screen game with Dion Lewis and James White.

Brandon Howard joined the Sports Talk Florida team to cover the Miami Dolphins in April 2017 and will work diligently to provide daily Dolphins content and give accurate analysis of the roster, coaching and front office. Last season, Howard was the curator of content for Miami Dolphins Wire/ USA Today while aggregating high school sports results in Broward and Palm Beach counties for the Sun Sentinel. Prior to moving to South Florida Howard developed NFL content for Pro Player Insiders while covering the Cleveland Browns from 2014-2015. Howard, a Columbus, Ohio native graduated from West Virginia in 2004 in Athletic Coaching and Education. He also was a scholarship track and field athlete and walk-on football player. Howard was the 2003 Big East Long and IC4A long jump Champion and was a provisional national qualifier in the event. He also maintained his status as a member of the Athletic Director Academic Honor Roll during his time as a Mountaineer.