EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 30, 2012

Pats vs. Dolphins: Sizing 'em Up


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — PATRIOTS (11-4) vs. DOLPHINS (7-8)

Today, 4:25 p.m., at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro

TV: Ch. 4 (Jim Nantz and Phil Simms)

Radio: 98.5 FM The Sports Hub (Gil Santos and Scott Zolak)

The series: Miami leads, 50-44.

Last meeting: Patriots 23, Dolphins 16; Dec. 2, 2012, at Miami

Latest line: Pats -10; Over/under total: 47

2012 STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Patriots%%Dolphins

11-4%Record%7-8

1st, AFC East%Standings%2nd, AFC East

426.9 (1)%Offense%315.2 (26)

134.5 (8)%Rushing%117.0 (13)

292.4 (4)%Passing%198.2 (26)

381.1 (27)%Defense%351.0 (18)

105.5 (12)%Rushing%104.5 (10)

275.5 (29)%Passing%246.5 (25)

+23%Turnover margin%-8

BY THE NUMBERS

Note: Since the team is honoring its legendary radio broadcasters, Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti, we will -- courtesy of the Pats, alter our “By the Numbers” to honor the two legends. Gino retired in July. Gil will hang it up at the end of the season.

Gil Santos

36 -- Seasons broadcasting Patriots games on the radio.

1966 -- His first season calling Pats games.

552 -- Number of regular season games called, including today. He has called 302 regular-season New England wins.

1,509 -- The number of Patriots touchdowns called.

73 -- Pats-Dolphins games that Santos has called.

Gino Cappelletti

45 -- Seasons of service to the Pats as a player, assistant coach and color analyst.

11 -- An original Boston Patriot in 1960, he played 11 seasons for the team.

3 -- Years spent as the team’s special teams coach.

3 -- He was one of only three players to participate in all 140 games during the 10 AFL seasons.

.840 -- Percentage of games by the franchise that Cappelletti has been a part of.

Keys for the Patriots

1. Flex those muscles -- As flimsy as those puffy-looking secondary biceps might be, it’s time to make the world think this secondary can play again. Feast on Ryan Tannehill and swagger into the playoffs.

2. Angry Vince -- Fined $30,000 this week for a post-whistle cheap shot vs. the Jags, I figure Vince Wilfork will be a tad ornery this week. Let the big man loose inside, and he’ll rip the heart out of the Dolphins again.

3. Tom stays clean -- The quarterback had been taking a pounding lately. And that’s not a good thing. Game-plan to run. And if passing, get the ball in and out. No deep drops, no long reads. Nothing stupid to happen to Tom Brady at this point in the season.

Hector Longo’s prediction: Patriots 41, Dolphins 7 (10-5 straight up; 5-9-1 vs. the spread)

Analysis: Denying a team like Miami a .500 season is a chore these Patriots enjoy. They’ll have fun in the cold, watching the thin-blooded fish wilt. Easy finale as the playoffs loom.