W2W4: New England Patriots vs Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football

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When the Dolphins Run the Ball:

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

How Miami starts the game this week will be of interest. In both wins under new head coach Dan Campbell they have leaped out to early leads and turned bad offenses one-dimensional. Brady and the Patriots will have no problem being one-dimensional and have been hard to get ahead of in 2015. Campbell has not been tested in a close game and no one knows how his Dolphins will respond to adversity.

Running back Lamar Miller has been reborn since the Dolphins fired Joe Philbin and he has rushed for 113 yards and 175 yards the past two weeks. In the four weeks prior, Miller had just 37 carries for 121 yards and no touchdowns. Of course, two of those games (both losses) were against the strong defensive lines of the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.

HOT: Patriots keys to victory in Week 8   

Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots set the tone for the game with Jets in run defense by stopping Chris Ivory–who had also been on a big run the previous weeks–in the backfield and he injured his hamstring and was never the same the rest of the game. Rookie defensive tackle Malcom Brown had a strong game in run defense and as usual linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins were dominant.

The Patriots have had to lean on defensive ends Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich with Jabaal Sheard still injured and both improved in setting the edge against the Jets last week. If New England and safety Patrick Chung can defend the run while staying in a nickel defense, they will have a big advantage on Miami on Thursday night.


Next: When the Dolphins Pass the Ball