Event: Miami Dolphins (5-9) vs. New England Patriots (11-3) - NFL Week 16.
Date/Time: Saturday, December 24, 2011 - 1:00 p.m. EDT.
Location: Gillette Stadium (Capacity: 68,756), Foxboro, MA.
Broadcast Info: Saturday's game between the Patriots and Dolphins will be televised regionally on CBS, with Phil Simms and Jim Nantz serving as the broadcast team. Locally, the game can be heard on the radio on WBZ-FM 98.5 The Sports Hub, with Gil Santos, Gino Cappelletti and Scott Zolak calling the action in the booth and down on the field.
Odds: The Patriots are a 10-point favorite over the Dolphins according to Bodog.
Pats-Dolphins In 2011: New England and Miami have met once this season, with the Patriots posting a 38-24 win in the season opener. Tom Brady threw for a career-high 517 yards and four touchdowns while Wes Welker caught eight passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns and Aaron Hernandez had seven catches for 103 yards and one touchdown. Chad Henne threw for 416 yards and two touchdowns while Brandon Marshall had seven catches for 139 yards.
Last Time Out: New England cruised past Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos last Sunday, posting a 41-23 victory. Brady threw for 320 yards and two scores and Hernandez had nine catches for 129 yards and one touchdown. Stevan Ridley led the Pats' rushing attack, running for 65 yards on 11 carries.
Miami defeated Buffalo, 30-23, behind a 203-yard and one touchdown game from Reggie Bush. Matt Moore completed 10-of-20 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns while Marshall had three catches for 84 yards and one touchdown.
Statistical Leaders: Brady has thrown for 4,593 yards and 35 touchdowns. BenJarvus Green-Ellis has rushed for 635 yards and nine touchdowns while Wes Welker has 104 catches for 1,380 yards and nine touchdowns and Rob Gronkowski has 75 catches for 1,141 yards and a tight end single-season record 15 touchdowns.
Matt Moore has thrown for 2,081 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Reggie Bush has rushed for 973 yards and six touchdowns and Marshall leads the team with 1,021 receiving yards and five touchdowns on 70 catches this season.
Storyline: There really isn't anything left to play for (other than pride) for the Dolphins. For the Patriots, there's still the matter of locking up the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC, which they currently hold. Miami shouldn't provide much resistance, either, as they didn't in the first meeting between the two teams. Still, there's always a chance for an upset on any day in the NFL, so Bill Belichick and company will treat this game like any other must win tilt.
Players To Watch: In any game the Patriots play, Tom Brady will be a key player. If Brady is on his game, there's about a five percent chance that Miami can win. Or maybe less. As usual, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez will be important to the Pats' success. Believe it or not, Brady can't throw the ball to himself. For Miami, Reggie Bush and Brandon Marshall can both make an impact, especially against a less-than-stellar Patriots defense.
Prediction: The Patriots really have no excuse for coming up short in this game. Miami is a very beatable opponent, one that New England has already topped this season. A win is almost guaranteed. Almost. Final Score: Patriots 35, Dolphins 17.