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Miami Dolphins: 5 New England Patriots Weaknesses the Dolphins Must Exploit

Mark LeskoCorrespondent IISeptember 8, 2011

Miami Dolphins: 5 New England Patriots Weaknesses the Dolphins Must Exploit

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    Nothing says excitement like getting to open your season on Monday Night Football against one of your biggest division rivals.

    When the average football fan thinks of the New England Patriots, they think the Pats are unbeatable and some kind of perfect team.

    However, I beg to differ with that notion. This Patriots team has some pretty significant weaknesses.

    The Patriots have been exposed in their last three playoff games by physical teams (Giants, Ravens, and Jets).

    The Patriots are beatable and here is how the Dolphins can do it.

The Right Side of the Offensive Line

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    The Patriots' starting RT, Sebastian Vollmer, has missed significant amount of practice this week so far. This could mean that rookie Nate Solder will be getting the start at RT.

    Dan Connolly is listed as the Patriots' starting RG, but there could be a chance that recently signed Brian Waters could start as well. Either way, there is a weakness there for the Dolphins to exploit.

    The Patriots clearly did not feel comfortable with Connolly, otherwise they would not have brought in Waters.

    Waters has only been with the team for a week and may not be in the best of shape.

    Koa Misi, Cam Wake, and Jason Taylor must take advantage of this right side. Getting to Tom Brady is always the number one key to slowing down the Patriots' offense.

The Secondary

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    No matter if it is Devin McCourty or Leigh Bodden, Brandon Marshall will have a favorable match-up.

    The Dolphins must take advantage of this.

    Yes, McCourty had seven INTs last season but do not let INT numbers fool you. He is small and Marshall can exploit that all night long.

    The corners are helped by Patrick Chung and Sergio Brown at the safety position. Not exactly two guys that strike fear into many WRs.

    The Dolphins WRs have looked strong this preseason and should have an opportunity to exploit mis-matches.

The Rotating Defensive Line

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    The Patriots have decided to go with both a 3-4 and 4-3 defense this season.

    When both Albert Haynesworth and Vince Wolfork are in the game, the defensive line is going to lose a lot of athleticism.

    The Dolphins will have great opportunities to get Reggie Bush on the perimeter or roll Chad Henne out and make those big guys run around a lot.

    As talented Haynesworth and Wilfork may be, let's face it they do not move around very easily.

    The rest of the defensive line is pretty far up there in age as well. Back-ups Andre Carter and Shaun Ellis have been in the NFL for 11 and 12 years respectively.

    Mike Wright is a nice energy player but he is no Pro Bowler.

    I also expect the Dolphins to do a lot more hurry up when these older players are in and really exploit this advantage.

The Wide Receivers

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    I may be the only person who thinks this but, the Patriots WRs are very overrated.

    Wes Welker is a one trick pony who can only play the slot. Granted, he is good at that one trick but he is battling a neck injury.

    The Dolphins are also very familiar with how the Patriots like to use Welker.

    On the outside, Deion Branch and Chad Ochocinco are older and have not looked good this preseason.

    When Ochocinco did not play the final few games for the Bengals last season, the team actually played better. That is not just a coincidence if you ask me.

    The Patriots do have some decent inexperienced WRs with potential in Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater, and Taylor Price. However, they will probably not see a lot of playing time and even if they do they are probably not ready for the big time.

    The Dolphins may not have the best CBs in the NFL, but Vontae Davis and Sean Smith are a top ten tandem. Factor in a solid experienced slot CB in Benny Sapp and the Dolphins have a pretty good advantage on the Patriots WRs.

The Patriots Road Woes

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    The Patriots have had great records the last few seasons, but when they have lost it has been on the road.

    New England was 14-2 last season, both losses were on the road.

    New England was 10-6 in 2009, all six losses were on the road (the only road win was a 17-10 squeaker over Buffalo).

    If you are going to beat New England, the best chance is on the road.

    So get out to Sun Life Stadium Dolphins fans and make it a true home field advantage.

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