Patriots vs Dolphins : The Dolphins have struggled mightily on defense the past couple of seasons. This year, they have struggled against top offenses, as top-tier quarterbacks picked this defense apart with ease.
The last time the Dolphins played the Patriots in Week 4, the defense made it feel like a 7-on-7 practice instead of a game. This week, may not be any different. The Dolphins enter the contest without their best player on that side of the ball, Xavien Howard. It will be up to the rest of the defense to step up for this game.
These five players need to step up and have the ability to help this defense against an elite offense.
Wake does not care who is in front of him, he believes he can win his one-on-one matchup regardless. This week, Wake will be needed big time this week against Tom Brady. The pass rush is the key to slowing down a high powered offense. The veteran defensive end should disrupt plays enough to cause some issues for Brady.
Over the past two weeks, Wake has recorded just one sack, but he has been in the backfield plenty. Athletic quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, and Josh Allen were able to escape. However, the Brady is not anywhere near as athletic. It should already be a given that Wake is ready for this game.
When talking defenders against the Patriots, it’s almost impossible to not talk about the pass rush. Quinn is a crucial player to watch for the same reasons Wake is. The former Ram has got going the last few weeks and has been getting to the quarterback consistently.
Quinn’s ability to bend the corner should cause plenty of problems for the Patriots left tackle. If he can finish his pressures and turn them into sacks, it could be a long day for Brady.
The Dolphins were dealt a huge blow this week with Howard being listed as out for this game. Fitzpatrick has played very well outside, inside and at safety this season. With Howard out, Fitzpatrick will have to step up and make plays for the Dolphins defense.
The Patriots will likely target Fitzpatrick quite often, especially after the Colts’ game. Expect to see Fitzpatrick covering Josh Gordon and Phillip Dorsett this week. He has his work cut out for him, but he has the talent to compete.
McCain had a good game against the Patriots in Week four as he even tricked Brady into throwing an interception. With that said, he has not been quite the same corner since coming back from injury. He is going to be forced to play outside again with Howard out.
McCain’s physicality and aggressive style should help him against the Patriots’ receivers.
Throughout the years, McCain has stepped up when the team needed him most. The former Memphis Tiger has his work cut out for him this week, but he should be up for the task.
Last year, in Miami, Godchaux was consistently in Brady’s face causing timing problems. The pressure up the middle is key to slowing down Brady and the Patriots offense. A heavy dose of Godchaux should create problems for the Patriots on passing downs.
The defense will need a spark up front, and the former LSU Tiger should provide that. If he can replicate what he did last season, he could have Brady rattled early on.
The defense has struggled all season in almost every category. If the Dolphins want a chance to beat the Patriots, they are going to need an outstanding defensive game. The five players mentioned can create problems and ruin the timing of the offense. If they can get the offense off base early on, the Dolphins will have a chance to compete in this game.