Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots Matchup Preview (12/20/2020): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Streams (Watch Online)
Watch as the 8-5 Miami Dolphins attempt to hold their seventh playoff seed when they host the 6-7 New England Patriots this upcoming Sunday. New England followed up a week 13, 45-0 thrashing of the Chargers with an embarrassing 24-3 loss to the Rams in week 14. Meanwhile, Miami had been riding a two-game winning streak before dropping a tough game against the Kansas City Chiefs this past weekend. For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots Matchup Page.
Date: Sunday, December 20th, 2020
Time: 12:00 PM CT
Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
TV Coverage: CBS
Dolphins vs Patriots Live Stream
Where can you watch Dolphins vs. Patriots online? You can stream this game, and many other NFL games live online with Hulu. Hulu has a 7 Day free trial and is cheaper than cable options at $5.99/month. Watch Dolphins vs. Patriots Free Online Now.
Miami Dolphins: Mike Gesicki (shoulder) Q, Bobby McCain (ankle) Q, Salvon Ahmed (shoulder) Q, Ereck Flowers (ankle) Q, Jakeem Grant (hamstring) Q, DeVante Parker (hamstring) Q, Elandon Roberts (chest) Q, Kyle Van Noy (hip) Q
New England Patriots: Adam Butler (shoulder) Q, Byron Cowart (back) Q, Jermaine Eluemunor (ankle) Q, Nick Folk (back) Q, Lawrence Guy (shoulder) Q, Justin Herron (ankle) Q, J.C. Jackson (knee) Q, Jonathan Jones (neck) Q, Shaq Mason (calf) Q, Donte Moncrief (thigh) Q, Matthew Slater (knee) Q, J.J. Taylor (quadricep) Q, James White (foot) Q
Miami is one of 2020s more intriguing NFL storylines, as they’ve skyrocketed from bottom-dwelling in the AFC East with the Jets to fighting for a playoff spot in the final weeks of the season. As it stands, Miami currently holds an 8-5 tie-breaker over Baltimore, and therefore the seventh seed in the AFC playoff picture. Prior to this past weekend, Miami had won seven of eight games and improved to 8-4, with their only loss coming in a disappointing week 11 game against Denver. This past weekend was another disappointing loss, falling behind early to the Chiefs and dropping to 8-5 despite 17 fourth-quarter points in an inspiring comeback attempt.
We can’t talk about the Dolphins’ offense without talking about Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tua Tagovailoa. After leading Miami to a 3-3 start, starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was benched in favor of the much-anticipated Tua Tagovailoa. Since then, it has somehow become even more dramatic of a storyline. First, Tua has at times looked great, while at times has looked very conservative. Overall, he’s completed 61.1-percent of his passes for 1219 yards, nine touchdowns, and just one interception over seven games. His 6.6 yards per attempt is among the lowest in the league, indicating a conservative approach from either the play-calling or his confidence in throwing the ball down the field. Miami hopes to get back their leading rusher in this game, Myles Gaskin. Gaskin has been a nice surprise for the Dolphins in 2020. The second-year, seventh-round pick took over this year as the team’s lead back, piling up impressive stats before missing four games to a knee injury. He since returned from the knee injury, played one game, and then was placed on the COVID-19 Reserve list ahead of their game against Kansas City this past weekend. On the season, Gaskin has 477 yards and two touchdowns on 121 attempts, a yards per attempt clip of 3.9. In addition, he also has 32 catches for 249 yards. Tua also hopes to have his leading receiver, Devante Parker, back for this important game. Parker exited last week’s game and his status for this week is uncertain. On the season, Parker has 56 catches for 677 yards and four touchdowns on 89 targets. Overall, Miami’s 25.4 points per game are right around league average.
On the defensive side of the ball is where things get really exciting for Miami. For the season, only the Steelers are giving up fewer points per game than the Dolphins are at 18.8 (Pittsburgh is at 18.2). They’ve held the Jets to six combined points in two games. While admittedly it’s the Jets, allowing that few of points to any NFL team over two games is impressive. They gave up only 17 each to both the 49ers and Rams in weeks five and eight, as well as only 21 and 7 to the Chargers and Bengals in weeks 10 and 13, respectively. Most recently, despite allowing 33 points to the Chiefs, they still managed four takeaways while more than doubling Mahomes’ interception total on the season (he threw three of them, bringing his season total from two to five). They have playmakers across the lineup. The secondary is led by Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, and Bobby McCain. The front seven boasts talented players such as Kyle Van Noy, Emmanuel Ogbah, and Shaq Lawson. Injuries are a bit of concern moving forward, however. Already without Van Noy and fellow linebacker, Elandon Roberts this past weekend, safety Bobby McCain exited the game as well. Miami desperately needs their defensive unit at full strength over the course of their remaining three games if they want to secure a spot in the playoffs.
Miami Dolphins Depth Chart
New England Patriots
It’s now or never for the 6-7 New England Patriots, who are on the outside looking in and on the verge of busting their record-breaking 11-season playoff streak. After starting 2-1, a four-game losing streak left New England at 2-5 and scrambling to save their season. Since then, they’ve won four out of six and now sit two games back of the 8-5 Dolphins with three games left to play. It goes without saying, but a needed win this weekend would bring them within a game of Miami (in which case a win would give them the tie-breaker after sweeping them). A loss would put them three games back with only two to play, eliminating them from playoff contention (Buffalo leads the division at 10-3 and is out of reach already and everybody else holding a wildcard spot has at least nine wins).
Offensively, Cam Newton and the Patriots have not gotten the job done. Despite a potent rushing attack, their 147.5 rushing yards per game rank fifth-highest in the NFL, their lack of a passing attack is making them too one-dimensional. On the season, only five teams are scoring less than the Patriots are at 21.3 points per game. Newton is completing 66.1-percent of his passes for a pedestrian 2172 yards, five touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. For reference, 2172 yards over 12 starts is an average of just 181 passing yards per game, marks that are nearly half of Mahomes’ 4208 passing yards and a per-game average of 342 yards (Mahomes has 13 starts). Damiere Byrd and Jakobi Meyers share a lead in team receptions at 42. Byrd has 566 receiving yards and one touchdown, while Meyers has 505 yards and no touchdowns. Damien Harris is the team’s leading rusher, with 691 yards and two touchdowns on 137 carries. The remaining committee of Rex Burkhead, Sony Michel, and James White all have combined for 608 yards on 139 carries. These stats alone paint a clear picture that much of the team’s production is coming on the ground.
While the Patriots defense has fallen off quite a ways since their historic start to 2019, Bill Belichick is once again proving he can mastermind a good defense with limited assets. Through week 12 of 2019, the Patriots were allowing a historically low 10.6 points per game, and only once in that 11-game stretch did they allow more than 14 points. Since then? They allowed 21.3 points per game over their final six contests in 2019. In 2020, they’re currently at 21.5 through 13 games. Make no mistake, 21.5 points is nothing to sniff at. Currently, that’s good enough for seventh-lowest in the NFL, just a shade higher than some of the league’s elite defenses. They’re managing this despite losing a handful of defensive starters via free-agency and opting out due to COVID-19 concerns. All around, while the defense hasn’t been spectacular, they won’t be taking the blame if the Patriots were to miss the playoffs.
New England Patriots Depth Chart
Betting Corner Miami -2
Spread: Dolphins -2
Moneyline: Miami -134, New England +110
The Dolphins open as slim, two-point home favorites against their divisional rival, the New England Patriots. I’m sure Dolphins fans are treasuring this moment, as I’m sure it has been some time since the Dolphins have been favored against New England. The game has a rather low over/under as well at just 41.5. The spread and over/under implies a Miami point total of 21.75 and a New England point total of 19.75. On the season, Miami is 11-2 against the spread and 6-1 against the spread at home. New England is 6-7 against the spread overall and 3-4 against the spread on the road.
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Daily Fantasy Picks
Is recommending a DST first as obvious as I can be that this is not a game that many will flock to for daily fantasy purposes? However, that means there will be some low-ownership opportunity in this game if you’re looking for contrarian plays in tournaments. Up first is the Miami DST. First, New England is the 20th-ranked opponent for opposing DSTs, making it a positive matchup for the Dolphins. Second, most recently, the Rams laid an exposing blueprint for stopping New England in week 14, holding them to three points and posting a week 14, league-high 21 DST fantasy points. Lastly, the Dolphins DST continues to play well this season. This most recent week, against one of the league’s toughest matchups, Kansas City, Miami still managed 10 fantasy points with four turnovers and three sacks. Overall, Miami is averaging 9.7 points per game on the season and has scored at least 10 in seven of their 13 games.
New England DST
If you don’t want to pay up for Miami’s DST, or you don’t believe in them, consider the New England DST. First, Bill Belichick is notorious for scheming well against rookie quarterbacks. Most recently, the Patriots absolutely demolished Justin Herbert and the Chargers in a 45-0 blowout, posting a whopping DST point total of 31. Belichick gets another matchup against a fellow rookie quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, making this an enticing option. Second, Miami might be short-handed. Keep an eye on the injury report, as Devante Parker, Mike Gesicki, and Myles Gaskin’s status for this game are all up in the air. Lastly, the potential in this matchup comes at an incredibly cheap price of $3000. To be fair, New England is no guarantee in 2020, as they have scored north of 10 points only three times in 2020. However, particularly of some of Miami’s skill players miss the game, New England is a great play.
Provided his trip to the COVID-19 Reserve list was only due to close contact, Myles Gaskin should be eligible to return to action in this matchup (which might change your opinion about playing my previous suggestion, the New England DST). After missing some time with a knee injury, Gaskin returned for their week 13 matchup against Cincinnati, only to have news break that he was being placed on the COVID-19 Reserve list just a day before the matchup against Kansas City. In his one game back from injury, Gaskin saw 71-percent of snaps and racked up 90 yards on 21 carries in addition to two receptions for 51 yards. Currently, New England is just the 19th-ranked team against opposing running backs. Most recently, they surrendered 186 rushing yards to the Rams and 171 alone to Cam Akers. Just a few short weeks before that, they allowed 138 total rushing yards against the Cardinals, with Kenyan Drake finishing with 78 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. If Myles Gaskin is activated prior to this game, he should be played, particularly considering how outrageously cheap; he is on DraftKings for somebody that is guaranteed to touch the ball as much as he will ($5600).
I know what you’re thinking. Cam Newton?! Hear me out, though. First, he scored 25.7 points against Miami in week one. Second, on the season, he’s averaging 18.1 fantasy points per game. He’s obviously risky, considering how much of a boom-or-bust player he has been this year. In six of his 12 games, Newton has finished with at least 20 fantasy points (a seventh he finished with 19.4). However, in three of those remaining five games, he finished with less than 10. It seems each time he posts a bad week, everybody jumps off the train, and then he comes back with another big fantasy day. The truth is, his rushing baseline will always give him a chance to have a big day for fantasy. While he only has 2172 passing yards and five passing touchdowns on the season to go along with his 10 interceptions, he has already accumulated 451 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. A matchup against Miami on paper is mediocre, as they’re currently DraftKings’ 16th-ranked team against opposing quarterbacks. However, they might once again be without linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts, which would be a big boost to New England’s rushing attack. It’s not often you have a quarterback that combines low-ownership, a decent matchup, a cheap price, and a huge upside.