December 11, 2016

Worry Wart Review – Game 12 at Dolphins

by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

Editor’s Note: Went away this weekend and failed to post the Worry Wart on Friday. Felt that it would work here as it proves prophetic. Not sure what else to say. Uh, enjoy it, I guess?

Looking at their comparative records (7-4 vs. 5-6) and their previous meeting (a 27-17 Pats win), New England looks like a better club than Miami.

As most Patriots fans know, that doesn’t matter. Whether during last year’s Wildcat surprise or 2004’s late-season stunner, the Dolphins have a way of playing their best against Foxboro’s finest. This, as expected, causes us worry.

Some other frets on tap…

Half And Half Not: It seems like we write about this every week (probably because we do). The Patriots have problems with second-half production and containment, especially on the road. A close game against a Miami team playing for its season? No, thank you.

The Big Difficult: Along with all the other baggage to come along with the non-battle of New Orleans, the Saints demonstrated to the rest of the league the best way to defend against Randy Moss and Wes Welker: double team both whenever possible. Even Sam Aiken’s performance in the Big Easy (seven catches, 90 yards) might not be enough to open up the field for the top two pass-catchers.

I Want You ’Backers: Though the defensive line has played well vs. the run, the linebackers need to reach the same level. After last week’s lackluster performance featured missed tackles by Jerod Mayo and Gary Guyton, the front seven need to be on their game for the run-oriented Dolphins.

D-back Into A Corner: After last week’s feeding frenzy (for the visual, Drew Brees was the grizzly, Pats secondary the salmon), New England’s defensive backs have to return to the basics of covering and tackling. A similar effort at Miami would unfurrow even QB Chad Henne’s brow.

Run A Muck: In honor of this Sports Illustrated article on Florida high school football (in an area called the Muck), here’s to the resurgence of Laurence Maroney continuing at Miami. If he keeps up his four-yards-per-carry average (and eschews his one-fumble-per-game slide), New England has the best chance to win.

Email Chris Warner at [email protected]

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