The Miami Dolphins are not out of the AFC race at 6-6. However, if they lose to the New England Patriots, on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, their hopes of hosting a playoff game will be lost. The would be four games back with three to go. If the Patriots win, they will clinch the AFC East.
Fortunately, the Dolphins will have the homefield advantage on Sunday and the stadium has not been welcoming to Tom Brady. He lost at that field last year in a game that could have cost the Patriots the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. That was far from his only loss. Whether the schematic, the humidity or simply bad luck, Brady struggles when he is in Miami.
Whether or not that changes hinges largely on the players. Neither the Patriots, nor the Dolphins are at full strength. They have both listed seven players as inactives coming into Sunday’s game.
- Danny Amendola – He fought hard all week to play in this game. Amendola is dealing with a knee injury, however, it was too important for him to sit this game out and he will suit up against the Patriots today.
- Xavien Howard – He is the top cornerback for the Dolphins, however, on Friday he was ruled out. He is also dealing with a knee injury and his absence will be devastating for the Dolphins. Howard “makes mincemeat out of great corners,” according to 247 Sports.
- Jake Brendel – The center will be sitting out against the Patriots. The Patriots should have an easier time placing pressure up the middle without Bendel.
- David Fales – He is the No. 3 quarterback for the Dolphins. Miami, like most teams, do not use their No. 3 quarterback on the active roster. He is backup in case of an emergency.
- Isaac Asiata – He is a bottom of the roster offensive lineman. He is a good player, but he is not worth keeping om the active roster.
- Zach Sterup – He is an offensive lineman, but he is not a high enough priority to keep active. Most teams have two linemen off the roster on gamedays. Sterup is one of the unlucky ones for the Dolphins.
- Jonathan Woodward – He was a 2016 seventh-round pick who had not earned the privilege of playing consistently. The Dolphins appreciate his potential on the offensive line, but he is not a productive player yet. He will be out of the lineup today.
- Isaiah Ford – this wide receiver is the lowest of the Dolphins totem pole. There are few injuries and Amendola is playing, so Ford will sit on the bench for today’s game.
- Dwayne Allen – The Patriots backup tight end, but the team can afford for Allen to sit out this game because Gronkowski is back. Gronkowski and Jacob Hollister will maintain the tight end positions today.
- Keionta Davis – He was not on the injured list and appears to be a healthy scratch. The former defensive end would have played today, if Trey Flowers would not be able to due to his concussion. However, there is a fully stocked depth chart, so there was no reason to keep Davis active. He will not factor into the rotation, according to 247 Sports.
- James Ferentz – All season, Ferentz has been at the bottom of the Patriots depth chart on the offensive line. He has swapped places with Brian Schwenke and Ted Karras a few times.
- Keion Crossen – Often, the Patriots sit out two of their young cornerbacks, and today it is Crossen. He was not on the injured list and appears to be a healthy scratch. Dawson is out as well, therefore, J.C. Jackson and Jonathan Jones will be holding the cornerback positions.
- Duke Dawson – The rookie cornerback has been injured all season. He will be a long-term contributor for the Patriots, but he has not been able to give them anything this year. He will be on the bench again today.
- Derek Rivers – He has been on the inactive list all season due to performance and health. His absence on the field will hurt the Patriots’ depth on defense. That is not great given their issues on the line.
- Danny Shelton – Even though he had not been a healthy scratch until last week, this was a surprise because the Patriots put such emphasis on the position. Shelton is playing for a contract this season and sitting on the bench will not help his cause.
By Jeanette Smith
247 Sports: New England Patriots inactive choices vs. Miami Dolphins
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