Last updated: December 27th at 9:45am ET
Team Totals: Patriots 30.5, Dolphins 14.5
The Patriots will clinch the AFC’s No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with a Week 17 win over the Dolphins and will thus play this game at full tilt. Evidenced by Week 2’s 43-0 result when Miami hosted New England, the Fins’ one-dimensional, pass-frenzied offense matches up poorly with a Patriots defense that can stick Stephon Gilmore on DeVante Parker, Pat Chung on Mike Gesicki, and shut down the pass. New England’s D/ST is obviously a premier play; 12-of-15 defenses to face Miami have banked top-12 fantasy scores (80%), while Bill Belichick’s team has allowed more than 17 points only once over its last 11 regular season home games.
Yet Dolphins slot man Albert Wilson is a sneaky DFS-tournament option here; fellow interior WRs Cole Beasley (7/108/0, 7/75/0), Golden Tate (6/102/1), Randall Cobb (4/86/0), JuJu Smith-Schuster (6/78/0), Jarvis Landry (5/65/0), and Kenny Stills (3/61/1) have exposed leaks in New England’s interior coverage, while Patriots top slot CB Jonathan Jones (groin) is at risk of missing his second straight game.
Those Patriots D/ST plays correlate especially well alongside Sony Michel, to whom OC Josh McDaniels has made a newfound commitment with touch counts of 20 and 22 in New England’s last two games. Even as James White’s passing-game nuisance and Rex Burkhead’s big Week 16 pose threats to his all-purpose utility, Michel looks to be staring at another fantasy-friendly workload favored at home by over two touchdowns versus Miami.
Slot machine Julian Edelman is still a great bet to open this game as a major factor, and McDaniels is consistently manufacturing touches for late-December/January breakout candidate N’Keal Harry. But as the Patriots come to grips with their passing-game deficiencies, Belichick and McDaniels appear determined to enter the postseason with their Michel-driven ground attack running hot.
Score Prediction: Patriots 27, Dolphins 10