Patriots vs Dolphins Monday Night: 6 Best Candidates for Player of the Game

Cian Fahey@CianafFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2011

Patriots vs Dolphins Monday Night: 6 Best Candidates for Player of the Game

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    The New England Patriots head to Miami to face off against the Dolphins in the first Monday Night football game of the regular season.

    Many fans expect the Dolphins to be blown out, but the truth, is this could be a close game—the south beach side are an under-appreciated group.

    Here are six players—three from each side—that could have the biggest impact on tonight's game.

Brandon Marshall

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    The potential for Brandon Marshall to have a big game is there. His matchup with Devin McCourty will be tough, but if he can free himself into the secondary, there are big plays to be had against the Patriots' inexperienced safety pairing.

    The biggest question mark is whether Chad Henne can get the football to him or not.

Reggie Bush

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    Bush may not be everyone's favorite running back, and he won't carry the ball 30 times tonight. However, with enough flash plays, the former USC star could be the difference in who wins this game.

    On any given Sunday, Bush can break out for a huge game—and he does have the ability to run hard when he wants to. However, he may need more time to adjust to his new surroundings in Miami despite a promising preseason.

Koa Misi

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    All eyes will be on Cameron Wake tonight, which is why Koa Misi could be the one to take over this game. Misi didn't show much as a rookie, but he was entering the league in a position that takes time to learn and adjust to.

    In his second year, he should be thinking less and playing more—which may allow him to flourish across from Wake. Misi will be looked to to take advantage of Sebastien Vollmer's injury and get the better of rookie Nate Solder.

Stevan Ridley

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    The rookie has had an impressive start to the season and could see a large workload tonight as the Dolphins have a good defense against the pass. Even though the Patriots run by committee, Ridley has shown enough to suggest he could be the best option they have.

    The Dolphins have a mean front seven that could shut down the Patriots' running game, but that all depends on whether they are brave enough to stick in a base set.

Pat Chung

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    Chung had a big day against the Dolphins last year with a kick return for a touchdown and an interception return for a touchdown. If Chad Henne isn't on his toes, the second-year player could light up Miami once again.

    The Patriots will be expecting a lot from Chung now that Brandon Meriweather and James Sanders are no longer with the team.

Tom Brady

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    Who else would you expect to round out this slideshow?

    Whenever Tom Brady steps on the field, he is one of the most likely players to take over the game. Brady's ability hasn't decreased in his recent years, and last season proved that he is even getting better with age.

    The reigning unanimous MVP could have a huge night, even if it is no guarantee against a very good defense.