After watching the Broncos lose on Thursday night, the Patriots are in control of their own destiny. At 10-3, the Patriots technically lead all of the AFC because they own a tie-breaker over the Broncos, who have the same record. The Patriots have also won five of their last six and look to be one of the hottest teams in the league right now.
That said, things might get interesting this weekend. Last weekend, the Patriots lost Rob Gronkowski to a leg injury, just weeks after getting him back from back surgery this past offseason. That’s not o say that the Patriots can’t win without Gronk, they did go 5-1 without him to start the season, but you can’t deny the comfort blanket that he provided for Brady and how he changed defenses because of his sheer size and power.
But what may be more concerning for the Patriots this weekend is how much the Dolphins need to win this game. While the Patriots would like to win, in order to further their positioning in the AFC, they don’t need it like the Dolphins do. At 7-6, and winners of three of their last four, the Dolphins are right on the cusp of the wildcard playoff spot. After a 3-0 start that was followed by a four game losing streak and the media frenzy that was “bully-gate,” the Dolphins have to be feeling relieved with the possibility of making the playoffs this year.
If that wasn’t all enough, the game is in Miami. And while that’s not the type of advantage that the Patriots have at Gillette Stadium, the Dolphins have got to be happy that they don’t have to play in Boston in the middle of December.
The Dolphins are tied for the final spot in the playoffs with Baltimore. The Ravens will have their hands full on Monday night when they take on Detroit. But the Dolphins would like to make it even more concerning for the Ravens to win, by knocking off the Patriots on Sunday. That would be huge, considering the Patriots would have to turn around and play those Ravens next weekend, and you can’t imagine Tom Brady letting his team fall twice in a row this late in the season with so much on the line.
After the Broncos loss on Sunday, a Patriots win would be huge in terms of their odds to win the Super Bowl. After the Broncos game, but before their own game, the Patriots are a 12/1 favorite to win it all. But now that the season is getting even more interesting and more is on the line, as well as Gronk being out, only time will tell if the Patriots can hit a run for the next two months that they’ll need to win another Vince Lombardi Trophy.
New England Patriots
Oddsmakers currently have the Patriots listed as 1½-point favorites versus the Dolphins, while the game’s total is sitting at 45½.
New England won its last outing, a 27-26 result against the Browns on December 8. The Patriots failed to cover in that game as a 10-point favorite, while the 53 combined points took the game OVER the total.
Last time out for Miami, they were a 34-28 winner as they battled the Steelers on the road. The Dolphins covered in the match as a 3-point underdog, while 62 combined points moved the game OVER for totals bettors.
New England has won 3 straight games.
Miami has won 2 straight games.
New England: 10-3 SU, 6-7 ATS
Miami: 7-6 SU, 8-5 ATS
New England most recently:
When playing in December are 9-1
When playing on grass are 8-2
After being outgained are 9-1
When playing within the division are 9-1
Miami most recently:
When playing in December are 5-5
When playing on grass are 6-4
After being outgained are 4-6
When playing within the division are 4-6
A few trends to consider:
New England is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Miami
New England is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
New England is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Miami
The total has gone OVER in 4 of New England’s last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Miami’s last 7 games
Miami is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Miami’s last 9 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Miami’s last 6 games when playing at home against New England