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New England Patriots: Three Players to Watch Against Miami Dolphins

Yahoo Contributor Network
COMMENTARY | Coming off of a divisional loss at the hands of the New York Jets, the New England Patriots will face another divisional opponent this week in the Miami Dolphins.

They should easily be the best team in the division, and the Patriots can not afford consecutive losses to the Jets and Dolphins. The Patriots haven't looked the same this season as the offense continues to struggle to find an identity. The defense has been much better than anyone expected, particularly due to the presence of Aqib Talib.

Looking forward to this weekend, here are a few Patriots to keep your eye on as they face off against the Dolphins.

Brandon Spikes

Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork are still out, and Spikes will continue to be right in the middle of all the action.

Spikes had a big tackle total in the team's loss to the Jets, and you can expect a similar result against the Dolphins. Miami's success in the running game is directly tied to how Spikes performs, although he needs to continue to step up without Wilfork occupying blockers in front of him.

Ryan Tannehill is a good quarterback, but the Patriots can do some serious damage if they can shut down the running game and force the Dolphins to pass.

Chandler Jones

Whenever a quarterback has Mike Wallace on the outside, you can't give him too much time to drop back. Wallace can burn you, and he's one of the few players around the league who can change a game with one or two deep plays. This is where Chandler Jones comes in.

Jones will need to get pressure on Tannehill to assure that Wallace doesn't have the time to get down the field. Even if his sack total isn't significant, simply forcing Tannehill to settle for passes underneath will be a victory. The Patriots can live with Tannehill trying to beat them with short passes up and down the field.

If Aqib Talib doesn't play, Jones becomes even more important. Talib has been one of the best corner backs in the league this season, and he would surely match up with Mike Wallace.

Tom Brady

Is anyone else waiting on Tom Brady to show up?

Sure, not all of the problems are his fault. The young receivers are still learning, and there's work to be done until they can be trusted.

Brady has not looked like the Hall of Fame quarterback that he is. I want a vintage Tom Brady game where he throws for four touchdowns in a blowout New England win.

Maybe I'm spoiled, but I just want to see Tom Brady play like one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game.

The Patriots and Dolphins will square off at 1:00 PM EST on Sunday, October 27th.

Mark lives in the Boston area and has been covering New England sports for various blogs over the past 4 years. He has been featured on Fox Sports Yardbarker, Fox Sports, and Sports Illustrated "Hot Clicks", and has been published on Celtics 24/7, Bleacher Report, and Sports-Kings.

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