It’s the final game of the regular NFL season for the New England Patriots (11-4) and the final game of the entire 2012 NFL season for the Miami Dolphins (7-8). The Dolphins come to Foxborough with the second-best record in the AFC East but a long way from being a contender. Tomorrow they can be a spoiler by dashing New England’s hopes of getting a bye week and perhaps enjoying home field throughout the postseason. They have to beat the Pats in order to do that.
Should Be Easy?
Should this be an easy victory for New England? Yes, it should be. But the Pats have struggled against good and bad teams as of late and so there is cause for concern. I see the Patriots scoring about 38 points tomorrow and the Dolphins being held to below 22. That makes sense considering how both team’s offenses have performed this season. But then again this is the NFL where on any given Sunday a lesser team can beat a better team.
In Points For (PF) New England leads the league with a total of 529 and in Points Against (PA) they are fairly respectable, as they have allowed 331. That means they are +198 PF/PA. That makes them the best in that category in the NFL. Miami has 288 PF, which is on the lower end (averaging less than 20 PPG), and has allowed just 289 PA. That’s pretty good. But their PF/PA is at -1. Against a team like the Pats those numbers spell “B-L-O-W-O-U-T” for New England.
Weather a Factor?
The snow and below freezing temps will favor the cold-weather New England Patriots tomorrow. This is a team that functions well in the ice, snow and wind. Look for Miami to be huddled up by their heaters and simply hoping to get back into the warmth of their locker room. The weather could keep the scoring down a bit. But I’ve seen the Pats put a lot of points on the board in what is a typical New England winter day. The weather will not be extreme.
Final Regular Season Pick
I have to go with the Patriots in this one. I think they will put 38 points on the board, however, I believe they will keep the Dolphins to around 14. (I had said “below 22” earlier; I think it will be well below as I’m looking for some scores from the Patriot defense and special teams.) I hope Houston and Denver both lose, which will make the Pats the top dog in the AFC, giving them a bye and home field throughout the postseason. Go PATS!