Dolphins vs. Patriots: How do they match up in Week 14?

How do the Miami Dolphins (5-7) and New England Patriots (10-2) match up for Monday night’s NFL Week 14 tilt at Hard Rock Stadium?

There’s still a big gap between Jarvis Landry’s Miami Dolphins and the division-leading New England Patriots. (Getty Images)

When the Dolphins have the ball…

Miami total offense (29th in NFL) vs. New England total defense (28th in NFL)
Miami scoring offense (26th) vs. New England scoring defense (9th)

Miami passing (20th) vs. New England pass defense (29th)

Despite a relative offensive explosion against the Broncos, Jay Cutler still threw for only 235 yards last week while completing 18 of his 31 pass attempts. Cutler sprinkled in two touchdowns and two interceptions in a game that saw Miami set a season high for points scored. And unlike two weeks ago, the Dolphins will have Cutler — and not Matt Moore — under center for Monday night’s matchup. The Patriots’ much-maligned pass defense limited the Bills to a mere 85 yards through the air last week. There is little reason to believe New England won’t keep Cutler and his cast of receivers in check. Edge: Patriots

Miami rushing (29th) vs. New England rush defense (26th)

Miami’s run game finally found consistent footing for the first time since the Jay Ajayi trade, thanks to a 23-carry, 120-yard and one-touchdown performance from Kenyan Drake. If the Dolphins are going to hitch their wagons to a rusher in the post-Ajayi era, Drake might be their best bet, as the former Alabama back has shown flashes of brilliance in both running and receiving. Last week against the Bills, the Patriots allowed 183 yards on the ground but no touchdowns. When the Patriots and Dolphins last squared off, Miami mustered just 67 rushing yards, but if their battered offensive line plays the way it did against Denver, Drake’s breakout week bodes well. Edge: Dolphins


When the Patriots have the ball…

New England total offense (1st in NFL) vs. Miami total defense (18th in NFL)
New England scoring offense (3rd) vs. Miami scoring defense (24th)

New England passing (1st) vs Miami pass defense (15th)

Tom Brady efficiently and methodically carved up Miami’s defense in Week 12, throwing for four touchdowns, one interception and 227 yards. Brady quarterbacked a balanced offensive attack that exploited Miami’s weaknesses. The Patriots will be without star tight end Rob Gronkowski after he was suspended for a concussion-inducing late hit against Buffalo. It will be hard to replace Gronk’s production, but they have plenty of weapons at their disposal, including Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola, so Brady and the Patriots offense shouldn’t skip a beat against the middle-of-the-pack Dolphins pass defense. Edge: Patriots

New England rushing (9th) vs Miami rush defense (21st)

The Miami run defense did a decent job of keeping the Broncos’ backs in check last week, allowing 103 yards on 23 attempts. They struggled, however, at limiting the backfield’s impact in the passing game, a trend that will likely continue against James White, Rex Burkhead and Dion Lewis of the Patriots. The Dolphins gave up a massive 196 yards in their first matchup against New England, which inspires little confidence this time around. The Dolphins particularly will need to do a better job of containing the shifty Lewis, who ran for 112 yards on just 15 carries in Week 12. It’s hard to imagine Miami’s run defense has gotten that much better in the last two weeks. Edge: Patriots


Special teams

Stephen Gostkowski is having another impressive season, connecting on 29 of 32 field-goal attempts and 35 of 36 extra points. Much like the last time these two teams met, the sheer volume of attempts — thanks to his prolific offense — gives Gostkowski an advantage over Dolphins kicker Cody Parkey. The Jupiter Juggernaut has knocked all but one of his 14 field-goal tries through the uprights, but New England is likely to spend far more time in enemy territory. Miami punter Matt Haack had a career day last week, but the Patriots’ Ryan Allen is solid enough despite his mediocre 42.6 yards per kick. Edge: Patriots