BOSTON (CBS) — The 98.5 The Sports Hub, WBZ-TV and WBZ NewsRadio 1030 sports teams make their predictions for Sunday’s Patriots-Dolphins tilt at Gillette.
Scott Zolak, 98.5 The Sports Hub
They call these “hat and t-shirt games,” and you know how they end up: The Patriots get a new hat and t-shirt.
The Dolphins are pretty much the same team since Week 1, but the Patriots have really solidified things on defense. They should be able to get after Ryan Tannehill.
Tom Brady should be able to attack Miami’s safeties, and Rob Gronkowski seems like he is 120 percent — up from 110 percent last week — and should be the player of the game.
Patriots 33, Dolphins 16
Jon Wallach, 98.5 The Sports Hub
The Patriots lost to this team in Week 1 after being shut out in the second half. But these teams are much different from when they played 13 weeks ago.
I like the way the Patriots are playing right now. Even though they lost to Green Bay, they looked pretty darn impressive in their win over San Diego. Brady now trusts his receivers and Gronkowski looks fantastic. Most importantly, the defense is shutting people down when they need to shut people down.
Miami’s offense isn’t nearly as good as the offenses the Patriots played over the last two weeks. I can see the Pats’ D holding the Dolphins to two touchdowns or less.
Patriots 30, Dolphins 13
Rob ‘Hardy’ Po0le, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Dolphins are mammals, which a lot of people don’t know. For that reason alone, I believe they win this game 2-0.
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV
The Patriots are aiming for their sixth straight AFC East title, and December is their time of the year.
The Pats don’t need any motivation for this one; they remember what the Dolphins did to them in Week 1. But New England is clicking now, and at home is where they absolutely dominate.
Patriots 34, Dolphins 17
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV
The big question always seems to be if the Pats suffer a letdown after an emotional game? Last week, the Pats spent a week on the west coast and then notched a hard-fought win over the Chargers in San Diego. They were coming off a tough loss the previous week in Green Bay, but they were able to respond, as they have all season long.
There’s no reason to think this group won’t let up against Miami. It’s a hat and t-shirt day, so there’s plenty on the line. Add to that, Miami beat this team in the opener. Enough said.
Patriots 31, Dolphins 17
Levan Reid, WBZ-TV
The Patriots went 5-1 on that grueling six-game stretch. Now they finish the regular season with three division games, with the Dolphins up first.
Miami has always given the Patriots problems and that’s even when the Dolphins were just an average team. This year’s squad is finally coming into their own.
Mike Wallace gives them a wide receiver who can take the top off the defense and rookie Jarvis Landry and Charles Clay give them pass catchers who can trap the middle of the field. They also can run the ball with Lamar Miller. On defense, they are one of the best against the pass and they have Cameron Wake to rush the quarterback. He can really get after the passer and he always gives the Pats fits.
But the Pats are simply better than they were in Week 1 when the lost down in Miami. They have Rob Gronkowski playing at the top of his game and Darrelle Revis and the defense is locking down teams all over the league.
The Pats are a nightmare to try and beat at Gillette, and even though they may not say it, New England is looking for revenge for that Week 1 loss. Tom Brady and the Pats would love for this “hat and t-shirt game” to happen on Sunday.
Julian Edelman, Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, Vince Wilfork, Donta’ Hightower, Darrelle Revis, Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty, Brandon Browner, Akeem Ayers, Bryan Stork, Matthew Slater, Stephen Gostkowski — all of them have played pivotal roles in games and they will all play well in a playoff style game on Sunday.
Patriots 35, Dolphins 14
Adam Kaufman, WBZ NewsRadio 1030/98.5 The Sports Hub
The Patriots always publicly offer respect for their opponent, particularly if that challenger has already beaten them this season. But, much has changed since New England’s Week 1 loss in Miami. The Pats have won 10 of 12, while the Dolphins are 6-6. The Fins’ only wins since a Nov. 2 shellacking of the Chargers have come over the Bills and Jets.
The Pats will avoid the season-sweep to the Dolphins and clinch a sixth straight AFC East crown in the process on Sunday. Play the odds. New England has won 15 consecutive home games, and Miami is just 4-12 in Foxborough in December and January all-time. South Beach residents don’t like the cold.
In terms of strategy, look for Bill Belichick to take advantage of the ground-game against a Miami team that ranks in the lower-third of the league in run-defense.
Patriots 38, Dolphins 17
Tune in to Sunday’s Patriots-Dolphins game on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV— the flagship stations of the New England Patriots. The Sports Hub begins coverage at 10am, with three full hours of postgame reaction and analysis following the game! Coverage on WBZ-TV begins at 11:30am with Patriots GameDay, and continues with Patriots 5th Quarter immediately following the game.
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