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Who can dethrone the kings of the AFC East?

28 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Who can dethrone the kings of the AFC East?

If the Dolphins are going to stop the Patriots, they are going to need another remarkable defensive performance from Ndamukong Suh

There are now five teams boasting 6-0 across the NFL.

And of those five, it seems like the Patriots and the Packers have the best chance of making the Super Bowl.

Why?

Well, simply because they’re playing better and, when they have to, attritional football.

This Thursday, the Patriots take centre stage once again against the Dolphins.

What do the Dolphins (61/20) have to do to beat AFC East rivals New England?

Well, for starters, they have to play more like they have in the last two weeks, rather than the dismal display at Wembley Stadium where they lost 14-27 to the Jets.

The crucial change since then has been the long overdue boot applied to the backside of head coach Joe Philbin, who was let go after the London game.

Many Miami fans were concerned that he had alienated so much of the squad they simply weren’t interested anymore.

From their performances before and since, it is hard to argue.

Perhaps the most remarkable transformation has been from defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

Despite being signed from the Lions in the summer on an eye-watering $114m, six-year deal, he has looked increasingly jaded in the past months – and was clearly playing within himself.

But with the removal of Philbin, he is finally justifying his price tag.

On Sunday, Nuh recorded six tackles, two sacks and three tackles for loss. Add in two deflections and three quarterback hits, and you’ve got one hell of a defensive performance.

If anyone is to stop the Patriots, Nuh will need to repeat that showing.

He and the rest of the Dolphins are 10/11 to limit New England to 29.5 points or less in the match.

If they are to stand any chance of winning, they will need to.

Conversely, it should come as a surprise to no-one that the Patriots are overwhelming favourites to beat the Dolphins at 10/39, but it is the intelligence behind the offensive coaching for New England that makes them really dangerous.

Before Sunday’s game, everyone knew the Jets had one of the best front seven defences in the league.

So how did the Patriots adapt? Air Brady.

They ended up with 54 pass attempts and just nine rushes, making Tom Brady his team’s leading passer and rusher for the first time ever.

According to ESPN’s Stats & Info division, the Pats dropped back to pass on 90.9 per cent of their offensive plays – the highest of any team in the last 10 NFL seasons.

Whatever the situation, whatever the pressure – the Patriots always seem to find a way around it.

Their flexibility and resourcefulness have made them one of the hardest teams to beat in the league and, of course, having one of the world’s finest quarterbacks doesn’t hurt.

Smart plays, coupled with Brady’s offensive intelligence and ability to re-route on the move makes them almost impossible to stop.

If the Dolphins are going to have any chance of managing it, they will need to be capable on passing and rushing defence.

No-one has managed it this season. Can they?

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