DAVIE–The Dolphins‘ stakes are clear today. If they lose, they’re the AFC’s No. 6 seed and they visit Pittsburgh. If they win and get help from the Chargers beating the Chiefs, they move up to fifth and go to Houston.
Here are seven Miami players to watch in the regular-season finale against New England on Sunday:
1. RB Jay Ajayi
Ajayi hurt his shoulder late in the Buffalo game and was out of practice part of the week, but sounds like he’ll be full-go against the Patriots. He has three 200-yard games and eight games under 70. The Dolphins will need him in the playoffs, so it’s important to keep him rolling.
2. QB Matt Moore
Moore has given the Dolphins more than most teams could expect from their backup quarterback. He’s committed two turnovers and posted a 113.9 passer rating in two-plus games since coming in for Ryan Tannehill. New England is vulnerable against the pass, opening up a big opportunity for him.
3. DE Cameron Wake
Despite the team holding back his snaps the first month or so of the season, Wake is in position to make this his third-best season for sacks. He comes in with 11.5, trailing only the 14 he posted in 2010 and 15 in 2015. He’s got the Dolphins’ record for most sacks in a player’s first eight years with the team (81.5) and is climbing the league’s all-time list.
4. LT Branden Albert
Adam Gase insists he’s treating this like any other game when it comes to not resting players, but Albert would be a good one to sit if Miami felt comfortable doing so. He’s still recovering from dislocating his wrist in November. However, the Dolphins can’t take any chances up front when they’re already on their second-string quarterback.
5. WR DeVante Parker
The best two games of Parker’s came against New England. He put up 106 yards on the Patriots in last year’s finale, then matched that total against them in September. He hit a lull after injuring his back, but rebounded with 85 yards and a touchdown against the Bills last weekend.
6. LB Kiko Alonso
Led by LeGarrette Blount, New England runs one of the strongest ground games in the NFL. Blount has 1,110 yards and 17 touchdowns this season, and Alonso is the man to stop him. He’s had a resurgent year, and Miami needs him to make his mark in the finale.
7. WR Jarvis Landry
The Dolphins are always better when Landry gets going. He’s their best overall player on offense and offers Moore plenty of low-risk, high-reward targets. He blistered New England for 135 yards on 10 catches when these teams played in Week 2 and he’s got the potential to unleash that type of performance again.
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