Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots on Christmas Eve as Fins Face AFC's Best

Mark LoiselleContributor IIDecember 24, 2011

Miami Dolphins Running Back Reggie Bush
Miami Dolphins Running Back Reggie Bush

It's about that time of year again. Every year around the holiday season, the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins have an AFC East divisional battle, so expect the same tomorrow.

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are coming off a big win in "Tebowland." Denver won six consecutive games before losing to the conference's best. A big help in the victory came from tight end Aaron Hernandez, who tallied 129 yards and one touchdown. The Miami Dolphins have been playing pretty decently as of late, including a huge win in cold Buffalo. In the victory, Dolphins running back Reggie Bush rushed for 203 yards (career-best) and is now 27 yards shy of a 1,000 yard season.

The Miami Dolphins have nothing to lose as their playoff chances have quickly vanished. On the bright side, the Dolphins fan base saw some great preparation out of interim coach Todd Bowles in last week's victory and look to keep the wins coming. The Patriots have been on fire as of late and could keep the fire going into the playoffs with 13 wins.

With that, there are going to be key matchups favoring both of the teams in the battle.


Matt Moore vs. Tom Brady:

Moore has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the AFC this season. The South Florida team has looked for a quarterback they can count on and Moore is making a case as I have said in my previous posts. Moore and Brandon Marshall's connection is as on-point as Chad Henne and Marshall's connection. The long ball is working and very accurate to Dolphins receivers Brandon MarshallCharles ClayBrian Hartline and Davone Bess.

Tom Brady has been one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL this season, if not the best.  His two friendliest targets are tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Both have a total of 21 touchdowns in the 2011-12 season. Brady has distributed 351 completions for 4,593 yards, 35 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The question is, who has the edge? I would say Brady; whenever you have No. 12 on your side you can't go wrong.

An AFC Battle
An AFC Battle

Reggie Bush vs. the Patriots' defensive line:

Miami is ranked seventh in NFL rushing yards this season. Reggie Bush is 27 yards shy of the 1,000-yard count. This has been a definite breakout season for the sixth year veteran. In the past three games, he has tallied over 100 yards (vs. Raiders: 100, vs. Eagles: 103, and vs. Bills: 203).  

The Patriots running defense has been lacking this season and looks to get worse, as it's already ranked 19th in the NFL. This season there has been an invisible force on the defensive line for the Pats, having trouble getting around the blocks. I would say Reggie Bush has the edge. He is reading all the blocks correctly and is moving north and south instead of east and west (applause).

Miami Dolphins' defense vs. The Patriots offense:

The Dolphins defense has quietly been one of the most dominant defenses in the NFL. They are ranked third in opposition rushing yards and look to continue the dominance in stopping the run this week against Patriots running back Benjarvis Green-Ellis. However, the past defense has been awful, ranked 25th in the NFL.

The Patriots haven't been strong on the defensive side but their offense is one of the best in the league. The Miami defense will come to play but it will be tough to pour the water on the hot Patriots.

Prediction:  MIA 27 NE 21

Happy Holidays!