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

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When the Dolphins Pass the Ball:

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The turnaround from a 1-3 start to 3-3 and heading into New England outscoring their last two opponents by an 82-36 margin. The offense put up 434 yards on Tennessee and then torched Houston for 503 yards. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has completed 40 of 48 passes in the past two games while passing for 548 yards and 6 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions (all stats from Pro-Football-Reference.com).

The Dolphins passing attack goes through slot receiver Jarvis Landry. He can line up anywhere on the offense and run any route. He is able to catch anything thrown his way and is able to gain significant yardage after the catch. Behind him, the drop off is palpable. Rishard Matthews is the number two receiver by default and had taken a big step forward in 2015.

At tight end Jordan Cameron has been inconsistent and caught just 17 of 38 targets. Veteran Greg Jennings has looked his age with just 10 catches in 6 games. Kenny Stills was expected to be a difference maker since coming over from New Orleans, but he has been shut out twice already this year and has just 10 grabs.

New England will likely employ their same defensive game plan in the secondary which they employed last week. Landry will likely get the Brandon Marshall defense being bracketed by Logan Ryan and Devin McCourty while Malcolm Butler will have to chase the larger Rishard Matthews across the field like he did with Eric Decker last week.

Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The dregs of the receiving corp in Miami will fall to Justin Coleman and safeties Duron Harmon will be involved in the coverage groups. Running backs and Cameron will see Patrick Chung in coverage and linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins will have important roles in middle of the field zone coverages.

Tannehill has feasted on some bad defenses, but the Patriots have been getting their secondary to improve each week. Although Decker and Marshall had some big catches, the Patriots did not let them hurt them with many big plays and forced the Jets to matriculate down the field. Tannehill still has a propensity to throw too many interceptions and that could hurt the Dolphins Thursday night.


Next: When the Patriots Run the Ball