A knockout is already out of the question, but here’s what could happen to the Dolphins in the final vs. Patriots – Twin Cities


When the Miami Dolphins lost their penultimate game of the 2021 season, a morale loss to the Tennessee Titans, 34-3, it made their home final against the New England Patriots pointless.

The Dolphins (8-8) have been eliminated from the playoffs, and the possibility of a win-lose scenario in the AFC East head-to-head and 4:25pm game at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday has been ruled out. .

But don’t say it’s pointless to Dolphins coach Brian Flores, who, aside from always coaching to win, wants nothing more than to stick with his old organization he spent a decade on half a century as an assistant coach and scout. under Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

Does Flores believe in the concept of ending a season on a high note? As his five-game winning side in 2019 ended with a win in New England, it led the Dolphins to a surprising 10-6 campaign in 2020. After that season ended with a meltdown After a crushing defeat to the Buffalo Bills kept Miami out of the post-season break, the Dolphins then started 2021 with a 1-7 record before a seven-game winning streak brought them back into the game.

“I think it’s important to always put your best foot forward and play,” Flores said. “That’s what this game is all about. So yeah, I think that’s important.”

There was a first pairing in two decades that the Dolphins were able to achieve with a win over the Patriots (10-6). After Miami topped New England, 17-16, in its season opener in Foxborough, a win would mean the franchise the first season to wipe out the Patriots since 2000, Belichick’s first season at the helm there. The Dolphins could also end up winning a straight season for the first time since 2003.

“The goal is to win the game,” said Flores, who also had the option of viewing in-game some of the players on the younger training team. “We’re going to play those who give us the best chance to do that.”

As for the Patriots, they have gained a post-season landing, but Sunday’s game has significant seeding implications. The Patriots can finish as No. 1 AFC with a win and as low as No. 7 with a loss. The top seed scenario is highly unlikely as it requires four other major upsets and could be ruled out Saturday night with the Kansas City Captains win over the Denver Broncos. The Buffalo Bills’ win on Sunday night over the New York Jets gave the Buffalo the championship and limited the Patriots to a 5 to 7 wild card seed.

Only one it is likely to be defender Tua Tagovailoa’s last start with the Dolphins when he finished his second season. Miami could consider acquiring a proven top-back quartet like Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson when the season comes to a close after being closely linked to Watson’s commercial negotiations with Houston Texans around commercial deadlines and past season.

The same can be said for some Dolphins are impending agents of freedom – defender Emmanuel Ogbah, tight finish Mike Gesicki and others. Miami is predicted to have a $74 million NFL lead in the cap space heading into the 2022 season.

Dolphins rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, who has Named the team’s MVP for the season last week, was three times catching up to break Anquan Boldin’s NFL rookie reception record (101).

Waddle has said that he wants to help the team win games by winning the record, and Flores pointed out that calling to play won’t necessarily serve Waddle early to break the record. Miami seriously plans to maintain its natural flow.

The Dolphins will have the second of what many look at the Patriots’ rookie quarterback, Mac Jones on Sunday. They faced him on his NFL debut in Week 1, and though Miami took a late win, Jones impressed, completing 29 of 39 281-yard passes and a touchdown shadow.

Last week, Emmanuel Ogbah said that Belichick “found a gem” in Jones.

Full-back Xavien Howard said: “When I see him playing and what he’s doing, I think, ‘He’s not a rookie.’ He’s doing some things as if he’s been in the league for just a minute. ”

Jones, who completed 67.6% of his passes in 3,540 yards, 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, handled most of the fouls the Dolphins threw at him on 12 September in Foxborough. It left an impression on Flores.

Flores said of Jones: “Good command of offense, readiness and good decision making. “The whole offense, it complements each player’s skill set. Run game, pass game – I think [Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels] did a great job of putting those people in a good position for success. It’s clear they’ve done an excellent job with Mac at the helm. ”

Contrary to the usual scenario where a team’s elimination would negatively affect their draft position with a season-ending win, that’s not the case with the Dolphins this year – at least not in the first round. .

With Miami’s first pick going to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Dolphins’ spot in the first round tied with the San Francisco 49ers’ finish. Dolphins fans can root for San Francisco to boot from the knockout round on Week 18, achieving a top 18 pick. If the 49ers (9-7), with a win over the Rams or a loss to the Saints against the Falcons, come after the season, the picks will increase by that number and possibly drop deeper into the round if San Francisco then ends up upset. within the Wild-card round.

The Dolphins went into Sunday healthy while the Patriots had defensive back Kyle Dugger and quarterback Dont’a Hightower out along with eight others with problems heading into game day. A knockout is already out of the question, but here’s what could happen to the Dolphins in the final vs. Patriots – Twin Cities

Beth Allcock

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