Patriots, Dolphins, tied at 10 at the half

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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, passes under pressure from Miami Dolphins defensive end Trent Harris in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — A win today for the New England Patriots locks up the number-two seed in the AFC and a first-round bye for the 14th time since 2001.

That’s really the only thing at stake Sunday afternoon as the team welcomes Brian Flores and the lowly Miami Dolphins to frigid Foxboro.

The Patriots will look to build off last Saturday’s win against Buffalo in which they were able to play complementary football in all three phases of the game as they gear up for the playoffs and continue their quest to win the franchise’s seventh Lombardi Trophy.

The Dolphins have greatly improved since the Patriots paid them a visit back in Week 2. Following an 0-7 start, the Dolphins are 4-4 in their last eight games which included wins over the Eagles and Colts. Flores, the former de facto defensive coordinator in Foxboro, has kept Miami from becoming the laughingstock of the league while the organization is clearly in rebuilding mode.

Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. and the game will air live on WPRI 12. Beforehand, make sure to tune into Fox Providence at 11:30 a.m. for Eyewitness Sports’ New England Nation pregame show. Yianni Kourakis, Ruthie Polinsky, Morey Hershgordon and Andy Gresh dissect the matchup and preview the game. After the game, watch the Patriots Wrap at 11:15 p.m. on WPRI 12 for complete postgame analysis.

Below are some notes and quotes from this past week at Patriots headquarters leading up to Sunday’s game:

Notes:

  1. With a win, the Patriots would finish 6-0 in the AFC East for just the third time in team history. (2007, 2012)
  2. New England is 114-33 on or after Thanksgiving since 2001.
  3. The Patriots haven’t allowed a 300-yard passer in 24 consecutive regular season games (since Week 8 of the 2018 season).

Quotes:

James White on the Patriots treating this game like the playoffs“You can never drop your guard. It’s a division game. No matter what their record is, these games are never easy to play in, teams are going to come out and compete. They’re a well-coached team. You know, Flo [Brian Flores] is coaching those guys, they’re not going to come in here and just lay down, and we’ve got to come out here and compete from the first snap, like I said, to the last one.”

Bill Belichick on sitting with Tom Brady on the NFL Top 100 set: “I think I mentioned it was a great experience to be a part of that whole process: the selection process, the revealing shows that they put together, and the opportunity to see those players and go back and watch them and study them a little bit. And then to see how the game was at different points along the way, how it evolved – not just the players, but the game itself. So, that was all interesting.

“I think I learned a lot in terms of a coach and getting to know some of those players and looking at their history of how they became great, or what made them great, or a particular aspect to their life and career that was particularly inspiring or enlightening. So, yeah, all of that was a great experience for me,” he continued. “I really appreciate the opportunity and was honored to do it, and spending time with Tom on the set was awesome. We’ve been through so many great moments together, both on and off the field, in terms of the actual football game itself, but all the preparation that leads up to it and the competition that’s involved there with other coaches, players, teams, and so forth. It was great to talk about those and think back and reflect on some of the great moments that we’ve shared together and how much hard work and the other part of the experiences that went into those moments – not just the result of the play, or a game, or even a season, but all of the things that you think about. I mean, those things don’t just happen. There’s miles and miles and miles that are covered before you actually get that final yard or few yards, or whatever it is that determines games, and ultimately seasons. So, yeah, it was tremendous. It was great. It was great to be with Tom. It was great to be with the other studio guests, as well, because it’s a very, very special group and they all have something in their own personal great history to share that we can all – and I can – learn from.”

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on using linebacker Elandon Roberts as a fullback in recent weeks: “He’s been ready to go each week since we started utilizing him in that role. He’s a very unselfish guy who’s done a great job of performing his responsibilities and he was certainly ready to go the other night. Each game is different, so what we did the other night felt like it was maybe right to do the other night. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re…we’re not trying to get back to anything, we’re just trying to do what we think is right for this team this year at this point in time. Whatever those things are, hopefully, we’re trying to improve on that bucket of things as we go. The other night, that certainly helped us both in the running game and with some production in the passing game, as well. I know he’ll be ready to go in whatever role we ask him to play this week. He’ll do a good job of studying and preparing, and hopefully, we can, again, put him in a position to do something he does well, as well.”

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