BOSTON (CBS) – The CBS Boston sports team makes their predictions for the New England Patriots tilt against the Miami Dolphins on Christmas Eve.
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV Sports
The first-round bye is still not locked up, so the Patriots should just run the table. The Miami Dolphins, although have been paying well lately, should be no match for New England, especially with the Pats offense who can score at any time against anybody.
It’s good to see Chad Ochocinco more involved. Yes, he did have a touchdown catch last week, but his blocking is what really impressed me. If Deion Branch is still hurting at all, rest him. They don’t need him against the Dolphins.
On defense, the secondary has their own issues, but we never thought the Pats would have trouble stopping the run. That needs to be addressed, and fast. Losing Andre Carter is a huge loss both on and off the field. But Mark Anderson stepped up last week, and he must be ready to shoulder the load the rest of the way.
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports
This is a game where the Patriots should come away with a win. Yes, the Dolphins have been playing much better the second half of the season(5-2), but I just don’t think they are a great team.
They do have enough weapons on offense in Reggie Bush, Brandon Marshall, Anthony Fasano, etc to stay in the game. Also, the Pats have made every QB look good lately so Matt Moore could do some damage, especially if Tom Brady gets his team out to a nice lead early.
Look for the Pats to get out to a 2-3 touchdown lead and then hang on.
Patriots 31, Dolphins 23
Levan Reid, WBZ-TV Sports
The Dolphins are much better than they were when they started the season. Matt Moore is better quarterback than Chad Henne and Reggie Bush is playing strong football. Miami right now looks like the team that everybody thought they would be all season long.
Here’s the problem: The Pats remember how last year ended and that talk is already going on in the locker room. New England is trying their best not to have let downs and are playing more determined. Last week’s adjustments after the first quarter in Denver is a testament to that. Every team is looking to knock off the Pats and this year, and this young group is used to it. Forget about the defensive yardage numbers and pay attention to the score. The Pats will finish ahead.
Scott Zolak, 98.5 The Sports Hub
There are two things that scare me Christmas Eve against the Dolphins. Number one is the fact that their coaches and players have absolutely nothing to lose, so they can take as many chances as they want against the Patriots. Their head coach is already gone, and there is a good chance the ‘Phins clean house next season.
Watch: Gresh & Zo Whiteboard
Number two is pretty simple; stay healthy! That should be New England’s main focus this week and next. The Patriots are going to win this game, but be weary of the unexpected and don’t get hurt. The last thing we need is Cameron Wake to put one on Brady like Elvis Dumerville did in Denver.
I think the Patriots win 34-17.
Andy Gresh, 98.5 The Sports Hub
The Miami Dolphins are playing much better football the last two months and have won five games out of their last seven.
Defensively you take care of Cameron Wake. Do that and the Pats should be able to give Brady enough time to pick this defense apart. There is no way any of their linebackers can run with Rob Gronkowski.
More importantly,1 this may be one game out of the last five where you actually have an advantage on special teams; meaning you’re better in the return game, better in the kick game, better in kick returns and, of course, I’d take Gostkowski over their field goal kicker.
Plus take a peek at the weather; it’s going to be 36 degrees. Miami does not travel well and they don’t play well in cold conditions.
Pats roll…. Happy Holidays everyone!
Walt Perkins, WBZ NewsRadio 1030
The Patriots host Miami in the second-to-last game of the regular season at The Razor. No doubt the Dolphins watched last week’s first quarter between the Patriots and Broncos with the same jaw-dropping reaction we all did. It wouldn’t surprise me if the ‘Phins offensive players needed a half-hour to wipe the saliva off of their playbooks after seeing Denver accumulate 218 yards of offense in the game’s first 15 minutes.
Thankfully, once New England switched from that 4-3 abomination to a 3-4, the defense settled down and held the Broncos to 175 yards over the final three quarters.
You can expect to see the Patriots begin Saturday’s game with that 3-4 defense, especially given the injury to defensive end, Andre Carter (quad injury, out for the remainder of the season). That is a big blow to the Patriots defense. Carter led the team in several defensive categories.
I would expect Miami to throw the entire offensive playbook at New England. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Halfback options, double reverses, you name it and we just might see it this weekend.
As for the Patriots offense against the Miami defense, it should be another 30+ point game for Tom Brady and company. As almost every opponent has discovered this season, you can take one offensive threat away from Brady but he is too good at finding the receiver that is left open. Denver did a good job of taking away one tight end (Gronkowski) only to have the other (Hernandez) have his most productive game of the year.
Historically, Miami has given Brady fits. But the outcome is usually the same – a New England victory and Saturday will be no different.
Patriots 38, Dolphins 20
Tune in to the Patriots-Dolphins game Saturday, December 24 on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV. Pregame coverage begins at 9:00am on WBZ-TV with Patriots Gameday, with coverage beginning on 98.5 at 10:00am. After the game, tune in to The Postgame Show on the Hub, and Patriots Fifth Quarter on WBZ-TV.