Patriots should kick sand in Dolphins’ faces this time

Trips to South Florida in December are supposed to be fun, right?

We all know with the New England Patriots, that’s usually never been the case. They usually get sand kicked in their face.

What about Sunday? Sun, sand, surf, and frustration? Or Hats and T-Shirt Day (AFC East title).

We’ve been saying forever that the only two games of the rest of the New England Patriots season that are in doubt are at Miami, at Pittsburgh. The final two contests at home against Buffalo and the New York Jets are as sure wins as death and taxes are givens.

It seems that the Patriots having a tough time in South Florida has been a sure thing, too. Tom Brady has lost 19 games at Gillette Stadium, but has lost nine contests at Miami, a 7-9 record overall.

Why? Can the Patriots go down memory lane and come up with a reason?

“Well, we’ll definitely look at last year’s game,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said earlier in the week. “That’s as close as we can get.”

That one wasn’t pretty. Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill didn’t play in that one, missing most of last year with a knee injury. But he knows the deal against the Patriots.

“First and foremost, when you play this team, you have to play smart football,” he said. “You can’t have penalties. You can’t have turnovers. You can’t put your defense in a bad spot.”

The Dolphins are 5-1 at home and 1-5 on the road. The NFL, for some teams, is starting to be like the NBA, where homecourt is king.

But why has New England suffered so much here?

“I don’t know why,” Tannehill said. “…We play well at home. It’s our home field, we have home field advantage and we need to take advantage of it.”

Will they? Read on:


It’s not going to be close. Miami is banged up – 15 players listed with one ailment or another on the practice report – and will be especially missing its best cornerback in Xavien Howard. The way they beat the Patriots a year ago was with an aggressive, smashmouth attack, especially with their defensive backs. Don’t think they have that ability this time.


Baltimore’s defense is intense. The Ravens are now Lamar Jackson’s team, and everyone knows the Chiefs defense is suspect, plus there’s the loss of Kareem Hunt that is going to have an impact at some point. Just not this week because, again, home rule. Fun Fact: As bad as KC is defensively, the Chiefs are one of two teams with two players with at least 10 sacks (Dee Ford, Chris Jones).


And now we’re going against home rule. Houston has won nine in a row, and the Colts going down was our upset special a week ago that panned out. Now it’s time to switch roles, Andrew Luck & Co. Indy’s O-line can handle J.J. Watt. We think.


Anybody noticed the year Philip Rivers is having lately? The Bolts looked like a team created by their schedule when they rallied to beat Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh last week. But Vegas thinks they’re such the real deal that they are 14 point favs in this one. They won’t win by that much, but they’ll win.


Just when you thought Dallas was establishing itself, they lay an egg. The Eagles are a desperate team, and as good as Amari Cooper has played for the Cowboys, as injury riddled as Philly’s secondary may be, why is there this nagging feeling to go Green?


Ugh. Anybody think Minnesota is a good team after that lousy performance at Gillette last Sunday? Outplayed and thoroughly out coached. Seattle is suddenly back in the playoff hunt, and while we’re not saying Pete Carroll can outcoach Mike Zimmer, we are saying Russell Wilson can outplay Kirk Cousins at home.


Rams coach Sean McVay wowed people with his knowledge and recall of the entire Bears secondary and what makes it so good. Odds are he knows those players’ weaknesses to. Tough one in the Chicago chill, but if the Rams are a Super Bowl team, this is a game they should win.


SEASON: 56-33-2

Tom King can be reached at 594-1251 or Also, follow King on Twitter (@Telegraph_TomK).