Monday Night Football: Patriots & Dolphins To Battle It Out For Share Of AFC East Lead

October 4th, 2010 – by Alex

The Tom Brady led New England Patriots (2-1) will try to get him his 100th career regular season win on Monday Night Football as they square off against the Miami Dolphins (2-1) at Sun Life Stadium in Miami. Kickoff is slated for approximately 8:30pm EST and coverage can be seen exclusively on ESPN.

As one of the premier quarterbacks in the league, Brady can make the best out of any receiving situation. Luckily, his team isn’t forcing him to work too hard considering his weapons include Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Moss has caught nine passes for three touchdowns thus far in this early season, while Welker has pitched in with 18 receptions for three touchdowns. Rookie tight ends, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski have lent a serious helping hand to their quarterback with 13 receptions, and five receptions with two touchdowns, respectively.

While their air attack is on point, the running back situation remains uncertain. Running back, BenJarvus Green-Ellis has 139 yards and one touchdown on the ground, while Fred Taylor has had a mere 98 yards thus far. To make matters worse, Taylor is Out for Monday so, look for Sammy Morris or Thomas Clayton to step into his role. A lot of the running attack’s success will depend on the team’s offensive line who has allowed a mere two sacks to date, and leads the league on third-down conversion percentage with 58.3 percent.

Brady and his receiving weapons will be hard for the Dolphins defense to stop, particularly after their effort against New York Jets where they allowed Mark Sanchez to break the game wide open. With that being said, the defense did only allow nine first downs in Week 1 and forced four turnovers in Week 2, so they’ve definitely proven themselves to be capable of doing damage against strong lines. A lot of the game will come down to whether cornerbacks Allen (22 tackles, 2 INT) and Vontae Davis (9 tackles, 1 INT) will be able to cover Moss and Welker, and whether Cameron Wake (8 tackles, 2 sacks) and Koa Misi (8 tackles, 1 sack) can pressure Brady.

On the other side, the Dolphins who have been shockingly solid so far in the season behind Chad Henne will look to take on a not-so-impressive Patriots defense. Quarterback, Henne has 659 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception on the season so far with a very impressive 88.5 passer rating. His No. 1 receiving option, Brandon Marshall comes in with 22 receptions and one touchdown, fitting into the Dolphins’ offense with ease despite being a summer addition. Henne has also been getting a lot of help from his less recognizable receivers in Davone Bess and Brian Hartline who have come through with 13 receptions and 8 receptions with one touchdown, respectively.

Much like with the Patriots the running attack for the Dolphins leaves a lot to be desired. Coming into the fourth week, they’re ranked 15th in the league and neither Ronnie Brown with 199 yards and one touchdown nor Ricky Williams with his 120 yards are evoking too much fear in their opponents. A lot of the struggles can be attributed to a not-too-impressive offensive line that has allowed Henne to get sacked seven times in the last three games.

Luckily for the Dolphins, the Patriots defense isn’t particularly strong enough to take advantage of their poor line play. Aside from Vince Wilfork and safety James Sanders, this squad has no legitimate playmakers on this side of the ball. Look for safeties Pat Chung and Brandon Meriweather to build on their 29 tackle, one interception and 13 tackle one interception performances, respectively. Further, keep an eye on how Devin McCourty (12 tackles) and Kyle Arrington (4 tackles) do against an impressive Dolphins receiving core.

Game Lines: While the teams are nearly evenly matched, the Dolphins are anywhere from a 1 point home underdog to a 1 point home favorite for the game. The over/under is 46.5 points total according to the latest NFL Betting Odds.

Looking at the NFL Against The Spread Standings, Miami is 2-1 against the spread whereas the Patriots are 1-2 against the spread. The over has hit in all 3 of the Patriots games this season opposed to a 1-2 mark for the over in Dolphins games.

NFL Against The Spread Betting Trends: The Patriots are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games versus AFC East opponents. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have been 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games against AFC East opponents and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games in October.

NFL Head To Head Betting Trends: In the last 5 meetings with the Dolphins the Patriots have gone 1-4 ATS. The underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings. Finally, the road team is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 matchups.

See more NFL Betting Trends

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