BOSTON (CBS) — Their Week 17 game may be against the 4-11 Miami Dolphins, but it still means a whole lot to the New England Patriots. For the Patriots, this is essentially another playoff game.
How is a matchup against a 4-11 team a playoff game? With a win, the Patriots will lock down the No. 2 seed in the AFC. But if they stumble against Miami, there’s a good chance they’ll stumble in the AFC standings as well. If the Pats lose and the Chiefs beat the L.A. Chargers, then the Patriots will play on Wild Card weekend instead of resting their bumps and bruises on a much-needed bye week. That would not be ideal.READ MORE: Man Arrested, Charged With Cold-Case Murder Of His Half-Sister In New Bedford
So you can understand why Bill Belichick is pushing this one as a playoff game. We may still get a sprinkling of backups if New England jumps out to a healthy lead, but the Pats need to win this one. Here’s how the WBZ-TV and CBS Boston sports teams see the regular season finale playing out:
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV Sports
The Patriots know exactly what’s at stake on Sunday. A win and they wrap up the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. The last time the Pats played the Dolphins, they beat them 43-0. The score won’t be that bad this time, but it won’t be close either.
The Patriots are 16-point favorites. Miami is getting better but their season is over and the last thing they want to do is come to New England in December with nothing to play for but pride.
Patriots 28, Dolphins 7
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports
In what potentially could be Tom Brady’s final regular season home game at Gillette Stadium, he puts on an epic performance: Brady throws for a TD, runs for a TD, and catches a TD pass from Julian Edelman. Brady then drop kicks an extra point to finish it off.
Patriots 31, Dolphins 10
Levan Reid, WBZ-TV SportsREAD MORE: As COVID Cases Rise In Massachusetts, Hospitalizations And Deaths Are Down from Last Year
The Pats need this game and if the mood is anything like they had against the Buffalo Bills, they will get it. I think it helps the Pats that the Dolphins are playing well. This will ensure that New England will take this game seriously.
The Patriots will continue to work on their running game and the defense will continue to play lights out. Expect Sony Michel to have his first 100-yard game of the season.
Patriots 30, Dolphins 9
Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
Ending the season with a shutout sounds like a good idea. The key will be scoring two early touchdowns to get the Dolphins to start thinking about the golf course.
Patriots 24, Dolphins 0
Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
I expect the Patriots to get off to a fast start in this one, which should mean a nice rest for their regulars in the second half. They’ll do what they have to do to get the win, and most importantly, keep everyone healthy. It’d be nice to see rookie Damien Harris get some run on offense, keeping everyone else fresh for what’s to come over the next month.
Patriots 28, Dolphins 6MORE NEWS: Boston Pops Return To Symphony Hall With In-Person Holiday Concerts
Tune in to Sunday’s Patriots-Dolphins game on WBZ-TV — the flagship station of the New England Patriots. Pregame coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. with Patriots GameDay, kickoff is set for 1 p.m., and after the game switch over to TV38 for full reaction and analysis on Patriots 5th Quarter!