Big divisional win against the Jets last Sunday. It always means a little more against the men in green, doesn’t it? New York did just about everything right: more total yards, more time of possession, even better conversion % on third downs. In Foxboro nonetheless. Pretty impressive. Unfortunately for NY, the GOAT decided he simply was not going to lose. Just another ho-hum 54-attempt game, and 3 total touchdowns later we’re sitting at 6-0. We’re onto Miami…
For anyone who doesn’t know who that is, or, everyone, meet Chris McCain. Chris is a backup linebacker for the Dolphins and proud owner of 4 career NFL tackles. Chris thought it would be a good idea to post this picture on his twitter followed by several shots at Tom and the Patriots. Pretty confident backup, huh? Probably has had a great deal of success in practice on scout team defense against the first team offense. Well, of course that’s before ex-Coach Philbin told them to lighten up a bit on Ryan Tannehill and the starting offensive unit. 96 million dollar deal and Tannehill can’t score in practice against some guy named Chris McCain. Before we get too carried away here, I will admit this is a re-inspired team under interim coach Dan Campbell coming off two blowout wins against Tennessee and Houston. The offense has looked crisp, and the defense has been imposing, especially getting after the quarterback. Unfortunately for Miami, the tune-up games have come and gone, and all the sudden, the best team in football is standing across the field. Let’s take it around the table and get some BBS predictions on this Thursday night showdown…
Brady: over/under 300 yards passing?
Niko: OVER. Likely another 40+ throws for Brady in this one. Look for him to spread the ball around to the variety of weapons at his disposal. If Miami chooses to double Gronk, look out for Edelman and Amendola. If they choose to take away the middle of the field, look out for Gronk/Lafell. In other words, good luck.
Pete: I want to say under, just because of how much Brady has been used in the firs 6 games of the season. However, Miami's secondary is nothing to write home about. At all. If Brady can make the necessary throws, which he has been doing for 15 years, then he should be able to get close to 300. OVER.
Jordan: Absolutely OVER. Tom Brady has been on a whole other level during his revenge tour and has only thrown under 300 yards one time this year. And with the way the run game has been the past couple weeks, the Pats will need to throw the ball more in order to put up points.
Cole: Off a short week with Dion Lewis still questionable, I don’t think the Patriots will have any major differences in their offensive game plan from last week especially with a good Miami defensive line. I say OVER, around 350 or 400.
LeGarrette Blount: over/under 50 rushing yards?
Niko: UNDER. Pats are going to mostly continue the aerial assault strategy; especially against these behemoth divisional rival defensive lines. He will probably get more of a shot than last week, and may vulture a touchdown, but don’t expect the Pats to try to slam Blount into the teeth of the Phins’ D.
Pete: Blount has been nearly invisible these past couple of weeks as Brady has been playing out of his mind. To be honest, I don't really see the offensive gameplan changing as the Patriots play another weak secondary. However, its a Thursday night game against a divisional opponent, so I will take the OVER here.
Jordan: This is a tough one. I'll say barely OVER. Blount was pummeled last week by the Jets who, hate to say it, have a really good team this year: as for Miami, if everyone shows up to play, have one of the best run defenses in football with Suh, Wake, and Vernon. I think Blount will go over, but not by much.
Cole: Probably right around that, but I would say 50 at the least so OVER on that with Dion Lewis questionable.
Dion Lewis: over/under 85 all-purpose yards?
Niko: Assuming Dion suits up, expect a heavy dose of him in the passing game. I’ll say UNDER 85 all-purpose (injury concern, potential for White to take a few snaps), but I expect 45-50 yards receiving.
Pete: If he plays, I will go OVER. Abdominal/Hip injuries are some of the worst injuries a football player can get. Not because they are serious or can effect your career, but because they nag you forever. Anything to do with the middle part of your body is getting constantly hit, especially at a key position like running back. To be honest, the Patriots can win without Dion Lewis. If he is out another week, its fine by me. I just want him to be healthy.
Jordan: UNDER. Dion Lewis, as we sit, is listed as Questionable with an abdomen injury. This injury has also limited him in practice and I just don't see New England risking an aggravation of that injury into something more severe. I expect James White to play another week as Dion Lewis sits to assure he'll be 100% when he comes back.
Cole: I would love to say that he’s gonna go off because I need him to for my fantasy team, however, with his status still being questionable as mentioned above, I doubt they will need to even use him a lot with a pass-first offense like they had last week. UNDER.
Rob Gronkowski: over/under 80 yards receiving and .5 touchdowns?
Niko: OVER, OVER. The Brady to Gronk connection is back in full force following 87’s career high in receptions (11) last week against the Jets.
Pete: Lets be real here. If Gronk is able to stay healthy for the next couple of years, he will go down as the best tight end ever, if he isn't there already. He is too fast for linebackers and too big for defensive backs. No one can cover Gronk one on one. You can't eliminate him, you can only hope to contain him. Looking at the Dolphins' defense, I don't see anyone matching up with Gronk. OVER on TDs, slight UNDER on yards.
Jordan: UNDER 80 yards, OVER .5 TDs. Gronk is easily the best TE in football, but other than last week, teams have been double covering him to force Brady to throw to other receivers. However, it's still Gronk and I expect him to find the end zone once, if not twice on Thursday.
Cole: OVER 80 yards receiving and OVER .5 touchdowns. I think he’s going to go off this week and go for mid hundreds receiving and 2 touchdowns.
Julian Edelman: over/under 6.5 catches, 80 yards receiving?
Niko: OVER, UNDER. Jules will get his catches, not sure he’ll break one loose. Think Danny A (especially), Lafell, and Lewis swipe some targets.
Pete: After a tough game against the Jets last week, and an even tougher game against the Colts the week before, I expect a bounce back game for Minitron. He dropped a wide open pass against the Colts, which led to TB12's first interception of the season, then dropped a wide open pass in the end zone last week, while being covered by Darrelle Revis. Definitely OVER on catches, and he will be right around 80 yards. I will say OVER on both just because his E:60 episode was AWESOME last night. Check it out.
Jordan: UNDER for both. Edelman lately has shown signs that his finger is a problem, dropping plenty of passes, including one to set up a pick-6 against Indy. With Brandon Lafell back and with a game under his belt, I expect him to bounce back and make some key catches. Not to mention how good Amendola has been.
Cole: OVER on both but not by a lot, probably 7 or 8 receptions for ~120 yards.
Ryan Tannehill: over/under 265 yards passing?
Niko: I feel like I’ve taken the opposing QB’s over every week, and the thought process remains the same: when you get down, you have to abandon the run. 96 million dollars later, Ry Ry will throw for OVER 265 yards in this loss.
Pete: Tannehill has surprisingly played out of his mind these last two weeks. I think that the Patriots will come out hot after starting slow these past couple of weeks, which will make Tannehill have to make a lot of throws. He will be OVER 265 yards, but should have a couple INTs as well.
Jordan: OVER. This secondary has shown holes this season. Especially the past two games. Tannehill isn't the best QB ever, but he sure isn't the worst.
Cole: I have Ryan Tannehill in another fantasy league and in that sense I would love to see him go off too, and coming off a wicked hot game for him and the Patriots lack-luster secondary, I would say OVER 265 yards passing this week.
Jarvis Landry: over/under 75 yards from scrimmage?
Niko: Belicheck has raved about Landry in the past, and for good reason. The kid is a legit playmaker. Whether designed runs, punt/kick returns, or crossing routes, Landry is an integral part of how Miami scores. Expect McCourty to help over the top all game, and for Landry to be a focus of the defense. I’ll go UNDER.
Pete: I love watching this kid play. He's dynamic and competes, which is something that many Phins players lack. I will go OVER.
Jordan: UNDER, I realize I said that New England's secondary has been shoddy of late, but Matt Patricia, like Bill, is a man of adjustments. If Landry starts to make plays, he'll switch the matchup or put an extra body on him. Brandon Marshall also put up 96 yards and I don't think Landry is capable of of beating Butler for more than 75.
Cole: I’m gonna take the UNDER here and say the fefesne will hold Landry under 75 yards for about 50.
Rishard Matthews: over/under 4.5 catches, 75 yards?
Niko: Think of Miller as Ivory, Landry as Marshall, and Matthews as Decker. In other words, Matthews will be the one benefitting from the attention on the aforementioned Miller/Landry combo. He has become a very dependable target for Tannehill and leads the Dolphins with 438 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns on the season. I’ll say Matthews goes OVER on both catches and yards.
Pete: If the Patriots are smart, which they are, they will toss Logan Ryan on Jarvis Landry, with help over the top from Devin McCourty. This will put Malcolm Butler on an island against Matthews, but he should be able to handle that matchup. I will go UNDER on both, as Butler has a nice bounce-back game.
Jordan: OVER. Matthews is young, he's fast, and he's athletic. He'll likely be going up against Logan Ryan, who has been a little inconsistent this season. I believe that Matthews will make some catches on a couple jump balls.
Cole: Another one of my fantasy options and I think he’ll go OVER 4.5 catches and 75 yards, for 5 and 90, being a big target for Tannehill.
Lamar Miller: over/under 85 yards rushing?
Niko: UNDER. Miller has strung together a good couple weeks in a row, but, when need be, the Pats can target the game plan around stopping the run. Just ask Chris Ivory.
Pete: In my opinion, running backs that aren't catch-first are a complete waste. You can't run the football 35 times, while not throwing the football for 300+ yards and think you can win. I guess I will go OVER, but not by much.
Jordan: UNDER. Lamar Miller was outstanding last week. Over 200 total yards. But he's not that good. Doubt he comes remotely close to repeating it. This defensive line has been the bright spot of this defense so far, tough to see them letting up 85 yards to Lamar Miller.
Cole: I’m gonna take the UNDER here too. I think the line and linebackers will contain him.
Niko: Brandon Lafell has his “official debut”. Lafell had a few “want to get away?” moments last week against the Jets and gave himself an “F” performance. No arguments there. The good news is that Brady has built up trust and confidence in him (rare) and I don’t think there will be any hesitation from Tom to look Jojo’s way early and often. I’ll say 4+ catches, 65+ yards and a touchdown for #19.
Pete: I think that Malcolm Butler is finally going to have a really good game. Like I mentioned earlier, I hope that the Patriots start putting him on the team's #2 threat, and double cover their #1.
Jordan: Brandon Lafell with 7 catches, 100 yards and 2 TDs. He came back last week after not practicing for the full week, I think he was just afraid of taking big hits. He'll bounce back.
Cole: Pats get four interceptions, Butler gets two of em.
Niko: Patriots right tackle Cameron Fleming vs. Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake. The 6’6 320 pound Fleming has been serviceable while filling in for Nate Solder/Marcus Cannon. That being said, on Thursday night, he faces his toughest test to date. Wake has 6 sacks and 4 forced fumbles in the last two weeks! Expect Fleming to get a lot of help from tight ends Gronk/Michael Williams on the outside in order to keep Brady upright in this game.
Pete: I am going to say Tom Brady vs. this Dolphin's D-Line. Cameron Wake, Suh, etc. should be able to get the better of this offensive line and could make life tough for Tom Brady. Fortunately, he's Tom Brady and won't let that happen.
Jordan: Julian Edelman vs. Brent Grimes. Edelman is the number one receiver for New England and Brent Grimes has proven to be a great corner. I'm excited for that matchup.
Cole: Whoever Butler gets stuck on, I’m sure teams will continue to attack his direction and the air game will definitely be a key for both teams tomorrow night.
Game Total/Final: over/under 51 points?
Niko: Just UNDER. I’ll go 30-20, Pats. The insurgent Dolphins will be competitive for 3 quarters, just in time for Brady to eviscerate all hope. Rinse, repeat.
Pete: Have to go OVER here. I don't think either team has a particularly good defense. The Patriots are known for making timely stops, and I don't think that will change much this week. I've got the Patriots in a relatively close game, but pulling away in the second half. 38-27.
Jordan: OVER, 37-21 Pats.
Cole: It will get barely OVER 51, but I’m gonna take the over and have the Pats winning 35-21.