The New England Patriots can move as high as the AFC’s No. 1 seed, but need a victory over the Miami Dolphins Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots hold the tiebreaker over Denver and Houston, and should both lose, the AFC’s road to the Super Bowl will run through Foxboro. However New England could fall as low as the No. 4 seed if they lose and Baltimore wins.
New England tuned up for the playoffs by, knocking down the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-16, despite two interceptions from an inaccurate Tom Brady.
Brady would go 24-for-42 for 267 yards and two touchdowns, hitting receiver Wes Welker for a two-yard score to open the fourth quarter that would put Jacksonville away for good. Brady has thrown four picks in New England’s last two games, equaling his previous total for the entire season.
After giving up an early touchdown, the Patriots defense held the Jaguars in check, only allowing three more field goals throughout the game, and picked off quarterback Chad Henne three times.
Miami, with a 5-3 home record, can play the role of spoiler Sunday by ruining New England’s plans for a first round bye.
The Dolphins have won their last two games, including last week’s 24-10 win over the Buffalo Bills. Miami took advantage of four Buffalo turnovers, and running back Reggie Bush caught a 17-yard and 12-yard touchdown passes, and rushed for another one-yard score.
Bush had 19 carries for 65 yards, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill went 13-for-25 for 130 yards and two scores.
Miami’s typically stout rush defense, surrendered 138 yards to Buffalo running back C.J. Spiller, but only let up one score to the Bills.
The game begins at 4:25 p.m. EDT and will be shown by CBS, or watch a live stream online by purchasing NFL Sunday Ticket Max.
Betting Odds: New England is favored by 10 points
Over/Under: 46 points
Prediction: The Dolphins could pose some early trouble, but Brady should fix his recent turnover woes, and New England will walk away with a victory.
Predicted Score: New England 27, Miami 20