Cincinnati.com
National Football League
Preview
New England at Miami
When: 8:30 PM ET, Monday, December 11, 2017
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

The New England Patriots have been among the league's best teams at keeping focused on the task at hand, but they must avoid looking ahead when they visit the Miami Dolphins on Monday night. Red-hot New England is tied with Pittsburgh for the best overall record (and No. 1 seed) in the AFC and has a showdown looming in the Steel City on Dec. 17.

The Patriots have ripped off eight consecutive victories, including a 35-17 win over the Dolphins three weeks ago, but they have lost three of their past four visits to Miami. "They always play well down there against us, so I think we know it's going to be a lot different game, and environment, and everything else Monday night from what it was (on Nov. 26)," New England coach Bill Belichick said. While the Patriots can clinch a record nine AFC East title in a row, the Dolphins need a victory to keep their flickering postseason hopes alive. Miami, which entered the weekend trailing Baltimore by two games for the final playoff slot in the AFC, halted a five-game skid with a 35-9 drubbing of the reeling Denver Broncos last weekend.

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Patriots -11. O/U: 47.5

ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (5-7): Miami was gouged for a staggering 177 points during its five-game slide before sending Denver to its eighth straight defeat, getting a pair of safeties and a touchdown from its defense and special teams. Quarterback Jay Cutler missed last month's matchup versus the Patriots due to injury, but returned last week with a rather pedestrian performance, throwing for 235 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry has at least five catches in every game this season, including eight for 70 yards in the first matchup, and has at least six receptions in his last six games versus New England. An injury to Damien Williams opened the door for Kenyan Drake to rush for 120 yards and a TD on 23 carries last week.

ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (10-2): Quarterback Tom Brady failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time since the season opener in last week's 23-3 win at Buffalo, but the NFL's leading passer burned Miami for four scoring passers three weeks ago. Brady insists he will play despite not practicing due to an Achilles injury and he will be without star tight end Rob Gronkowski, who had two TD passes versus Miami but was suspended one game for delivering a forearm to the back of the head of a prone Buffalo defensive back last week. Dion Lewis ran for 115 yards against the Dolphins last month and leads a ground game that has amassed over 190 yards in each of New England's last two wins. A defense that was ravaged early in the season has not allowed more than 17 points during the winning streak.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Miami has struggled under the bright lights this season, losing all three prime-time matchups and getting outscored 112-45.

2. Brady has 11 touchdown passes and one interception in his last four games versus Miami.

3. Dolphins WR Kenny Stills has 278 yards and two TDs in his last two home games.

PREDICTION: Patriots 23, Dolphins 19
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
New England 10-2 W8 29.0 18.6 4-2 6-0 3-0 1-0 - - 7-1
Miami 5-7 W1 17.4 24.8 3-3 2-4 5-4 0-0 - - 4-4
Last Meeting
New England Miami
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/26/17 MIA 17 NE 35 417 196 221 221 67 154
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
New England T. Brady 64.3 227 4 1
Miami M. Moore 67.6 215 1 2
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
New England D. Lewis 15 112 7.5 0
Miami D. Williams 8 38 4.8 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
New England B. Cooks 6 83 13.8 1
Miami J. Landry 8 70 8.8 0
Touchdowns Player TD
New England R. Burkhead 2
Miami K. Drake 1
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
New England T. Brady 68.5 3632 26 4
Miami J. Cutler 63.9 1837 15 11
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
New England D. Lewis 112 590 5.3 3
Miami K. Drake 65 320 4.9 2
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
New England B. Cooks 53 886 16.7 5
Miami K. Stills 48 733 15.3 6
Touchdowns Player TD
New England R. Gronkowski 7
Miami J. Landry 6