Patriots vs. Dolphins: 6 reasons to be excited

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Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

3. Third downs

You can talk about the coin flip controversy all you want, but the fact remains that the Patriots dug themselves into a hole against the Jets by struggling in the most crucial situation of the game: third down.

Trying to decipher coin flip controversy    

The Patriots converted just one of 10 third down attempts. On the other side of the ball, the Jets were successful 38 percent of the time.

Well, the Dolphins happen to be one of the worst teams in the NFL when it comes to moving the chains on third down. The offense ranks third-worst with a success rate of 29.3 percent—only the San Francisco 49ers (29.2) and St. Louis Rams (26.1) struggle more on third down offensively.

Meanwhile, the ‘Phins third down defense isn’t that much better. They rank a sour 28th in the NFL allowing 44.4 percent of third down attempts.

The takeaway here is that a week after facing one of the best third down defenses in the league—the Jets’ defense loses just 32.1 percent of the time—Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense should have a better go of it against the Dolphins.

Next: 2. Weak Miami pass protection