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1. Pressure Tom Brady
It’s very difficult to get any sort of pressure on Tom Brady. He is smart, ridiculously accurate, and gets rid of the ball in a hurry. If you rush too many he will pick your defense apart. If you rush too few he will eventually find the open man. Miami should consistently rush five—a moderately safe pass rush—so they can get pressure without giving up the big play. Cameron Wake, Miami’s best pass rusher, needs to have a big game.
2. Establish the running game
The Dolphins' rushing attack—one of the most efficient in the league last season—has gotten off to a slow start this year. Part of the reason is the interior line is full of new faces and has yet to jell. Rookie guard John Jerry is out for the second straight week and Pat McQuistan will again start in his place. He struggled last week against the Jets.
Will Miami go Wildcat tonight? I get a feeling there will be some new wrinkles in that formation and they will be unleashed against the Patriots. Remember, New England was the first victim of the Wildcat a couple years ago.
3. Contain Randy Moss and Wes Welker
Jason Allen’s performance tonight will be pivotal. He will be matched up with Randy Moss for most of the game, as Vontae Davis will likely cover Wes Welker. How those two do against one of the NFL’s best receiving duos will go a long way.
If you take Moss out of the picture early, it’s huge. He has a history of playing poorly if he doesn’t get involved in the offense early on.
4. Chad Henne
In the event that Miami cannot slow down the Patriots' pass-oriented offense, Chad Henne’s play is critical. Can he go score for score with one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game? I wouldn’t mind seeing a shootout and I don’t think Chad would either. Let it fly young fella!
There’s nothing quite like the Dolphins' theme song to pump you up before a big game…
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