Keys To Victory Vs Miami!
By Matt DeLucia
Great ready for the NFL’s best game on tap folks. It’s happens down in Miami between our very own New England Patriots and the surprising Miami Dolphins. With both teams entering this game with similar records at 6-4. There is so much more on the line, than just a “W”. It’s called playoff hopes and aspirations, the winner moves forward in the right direction. While the loser just might have their chances of the postseason dashed in as little as four quarters. Earlier in the season the Dolphins went up to Foxboro, and well we know that story, no need to rehash it. It’s time to return the favor and it’s also time for the keys to victory vs Miami.
1 – Ben Watson and Jabar Gaffney:
With the emergence of their play in the last few weeks, brings the Patriots another set of offensive weapons to use at their disposal. In their last game Watson and Gaffney combined for 15 catches and over 160 yards with two touchdowns against the Jets. In the teams first meeting earlier in the year they combined for 57 yards on 7 catches and 1 score. With Watson finally back and injury free he gives their young quarterback another viable threat over the middle and forces the Dolphins to decide on their pass coverage. Gaffney gives the Patriots another speedy go to receiver down the field, or in the role he’s been used most of this season. And that’s 10-12 yards over the middle, grab the catch and fake the defenders for a little more yardage.
2 – Miami’s Run Offense:
This meeting the Patriots will need to stop and control the Dolphins running game. After allowing 211 rushing yards and 4 TD’s to the combo of Ronnie Brown (pictured above) and Ricky Williams. You can be sure that the Patriots HC Bill Belichick will have his mind geared towards stopping this pair. In stopping the duel you also have the chance to dismantle the “Wildcat Formation” that killed us in the earlier meeting. Removing the “WC” and we place more pressure on the Dolphins passing attack. Now in order to accomplish this we need our defensive front to push, pull, dig in, and just plain pound Miami’s offensive line back at the line of scrimmage. We do this and we hit Brown or Williams fast and furious and stop them dead in their tracks.
3 – Chad Pennington:
Let’s force Pennington into being the main focus of their offense. Stop the running game, maybe get an early lead on them and force them to throw the ball. Let’s see which Chad is in Miami right now. The old Chad that didn’t think, just reacts and hurt himself. Or the newly improved Chad of this year, the one who doesn’t hold the weight of his team’s success squarely on his shoulders. The Chad that’s calm, cool collected the majority of the time. Who hasn’t been called on to fight his team back from a huge defecit. Let’s see Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel maybe a Jerod Mayo or Richard Seymour get in his face and give him that split second choice. Take the hit and sack or force something that might not be there. If we do that it’s a winning move for our part, we get the sack and loss of yardage. Or maybe that game changing play we retrun for a nice “pick six”.
4 – Matt Cassel:
The play of Cassel in this game is beyond importance for NE. We need the Cassel of last week to show-up. The one that throws for 400 yards and numerous TD’s. Not the inconsistent, rookie minded mistakes we have seen more than our fair share this season. Let’s open the play book up fully and allow Cassel to use his weapons we have at his disposal. Use Randy Moss and Wes Welker as they are intended. Deep down the field and across the middle. Hit Watson and make the big man roll over defenders (just hold onto the ball this game, thanks Ben). Use Kevin Faulk on third down calls and get him involved move in the offense. If Miami sees him on the field in a first or second down situation, they might over pressure him and free another player up. Let Cassel get into the heads of Miami’s line backing crew. Force them off-sides, to jump the play. Do that it gives us a free play and we love those, cause you just throw caution to the wind and let loose. Let’s force Joey Porter into using his play making skills and not his insert foot into mouth trash talking skills.
Look at this I could go on forever listing keys for this game. The bottom line is we just need to go out and take care of business. It doesn’t really matter who steps up or which unit preforms the best. It’s a team effort and we all need to pick it up and play with a chip on our shoulder. It’s called the pride chip, the playoff chip, the we’re still the AFC’s best chip. Whatever the heck you call it or they named it, it’s time to stand up, push Miami back and kick their own ass in their house. Pay back is a bitch, so is missing out on the play-offs. I personally don’t want the fun and excitement of this season to end with a defeat to the likes of the Miami “We still suck and were only 1-15 last year” Dolphins.
If NE losses this game it puts us behind the eight ball in the AFC East. Especially if the Jets some how pull of a miracle of their own vs Tennessee. That would mean we are two games in back of the Jets, two games in back of the Dolphins (as Miami would of won both meeting this year) and facing a very tough uphill battle the rest of the way. Basically it means our hopes, dreams and aspirations of playing in January can be tossed out the window with a loss. But a win moves us back into first place with a Jets loss, and splits the season series with the Dolphins. So you decide which sounds better, out of the play-offs before December rolls around. Or making the next five weeks that much more interesting. The second one sounds the best to my ears. And besides if Miami wins I’ll have to toss myself of the Tobin Bridge into the icy cold waters. So let’s make things easier on all of us and myself, just WIN NEW ENGLAND!