New England Patriots vs Miami Dolphins Week 18 Predictions, Odds, Picks
- This NFC East battle the perfect way for Pats QB Jones to get ready for the playoffs
- Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa gets another chance to prove he’s the solution under center
- The New England Patriots are 6-1 on the road the season, the Dolphins 5-3 at home
Patriots vs Dolphins Odds
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The NFC East is still somewhat up for grabs if the New England Patriots can win this divisional matchup (and the Buffalo Bills lose theirs to the New York Jets), so it behooves HC Bill Belichick and his rookie QB protégé, Mac Jones, to play to win this one, the perfect prep game for Jones to get himself ready for his first-ever playoff appearance, the Pats’ first time back since 2019.
The 8-8 Miami Dolphins’ season is over, but they can act as spoilers for the Patriots as they advance into the postseason next week, and Phins’ young QB Tua Tagovailoa will most likely relish another chance to prove he can be the long term solution under center in Miami, a win here also probably important to HC Brian Flores who used to work for GOAT HC Belichick.
These AFC East rivals have faced each other 112 prior times (including 3 postseason games), with the Miami Dolphins winning 58 of those games and the New England Patriots winning 54 of the games.
New England Patriots vs Miami Dolphins Predictions
Can Patriots Rookie QB Mac Jones Continue to Play Like a Veteran?
Most outsiders scoffed at the idea of New England Patriots’ GM and HC Bill Belichick’s plan to start a rookie QB for the 2021 season, but he went forward with giving NFL newbie Mac Jones the football and he has looked like the GOAT genius he has always been.
Jones is nothing flashy – not athletic looking though he has a solid arm and can move quickly enough if he must – he is just what Belichick needs, an empty young QB palette ready to be developed into a New England starter who can manage the game the way Belichick sees it.
That’s exactly what Jones has done this season, so far with 332 completions for 3,540 yards and 21 touchdowns with 12 interceptions, all good enough to lead his 10-6 team to a trip to the playoffs, a clinched postseason session the Patriots missed out on last season.
Can the Dolphins Tua Tagovailoa Play Like a Franchise QB?
It is important to remember that Dolphins starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is only in his second NFL season, a year where he was forced to start and given very few solid playmakers to target and a 31st ranked rushing attack that did nothing to help open up the field for him.
Despite all that, Tagovailoa, the 6’ 1” 217 pounds former first-round selection who played for Alabama, has tried to take over Miami’s offense, this season with 248 completions for 2,544 yards and 15 touchdowns with 10 interceptions completing almost 68 percent of his passes.
On the ground, Tua has some speed and agility, carrying the ball 37 times for 90 yards and three more touchdowns earning 8 first downs this season, all proof that he could have the goods to lead this franchise from under center if he gets some more reliable targets to throw at.
Patriots Key Player: (RB) Damien Harris
One of the reasons the New England Patriots have been able to be successful with a rookie under center is they have an effective run game to fall back on, right now their rushing attack is ranked 8th in the league led by third-year pro Damien Harris, a Patriot since 2019.
Harris is not a huge running back – he stands 5’ 11” and weighs 213 pounds – but it’s his quickness that makes him tough to tackle and his patience as he waits for his front line to open up holes and creases that he takes full advantage of as he earns more yards after the first hit.
This season, Harris has stepped up with his most productive year yet, with 191 carries for 892 yards and 14 touchdowns with two fumbles, plus 14 catches for 96 yards out of the backfield, a solid check-down option when his rookie QB needs it.
Dolphins Key Player: (WR) Jaylen Waddle
This extra game is just what Miami Dolphins rookie WR Jaylen Waddle needs to break a thousand receiving yards this season, the 5’ 10” 182-pound deep threat becoming an important part of the Miami passing attack, the former first-round pick already paying off.
It was a tough season for the Dolphins in general, but for Waddle the first-year pro, 2021 became a chance for him to become the shining light during a dark .500 Miami season that at times seemed like it could end up with a postseason berth, though that wasn’t to be.
This year Waddle the rookie has numbers that most NFL veterans would envy, so far with 99 catches for 988 yards and 5 touchdowns, just twelve yards away from breaking the thousand-yard mark, an impressive accomplishment in a huge first season for Jaylen.
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How to Watch Patriots vs Dolphins
|Patriots vs Dolphins Information|
|What||New England Patriots vs Miami Dolphins|
|Where||Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida|
|When||Sunday, January 9, 2022; 4:25 PM ET|
|How to watch||CBS|
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]