News & Analysis

NFL Week 12 Preview: Dolphins at Patriots

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 22: Jarvis Landry #14 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates after scoring a touchdown during a game against the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

The Miami Dolphins visit the New England Patriots in Week 12 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.

PFFELO Ranking: 30

Coverage by: Cyrus Geller

Matchup: Miami Dolphins offense vs. New England Patriots defense

  • WR Jarvis Landry vs. CB Malcolm Butler – This will be the matchup to watch in this game, as it features the Dolphins best offensive weapon against New England’s best cornerback. Landry is currently the 17th highest graded receiver in the league at 81.5 (out of 115 that qualify) and Butler’s overall grade of 78.7 is tied for 41st out of 118 qualified cornerbacks. Butler is coming off a solid game against Oakland, in which he was targeted five times and only allowed 28 receiving yards. The surging Landry will have his work cut out for him in this game.
  • T Sam Young vs. Edge Trey Flowers – Young has only been on the field for 49 total snaps this season, but has struggled in that limited time. His overall grade of 50.9 would rank 57th out of 81 offensive tackles if he qualified. Trey Flowers has accumulated 42 total pressures this season, 10th out of 62 4-3 defensive ends, and he has 14 quarterback hits, which is tied for the most with Robert Ayers. Flowers will move around, but the Patriots will be sure to seek out the most favorable matchup for their best pass-rusher.
  • WR Kenny Stills vs. CB Stephon Gilmore – Stills had a monster game in Week 11, catching seven balls for 180 yards and a touchdown, while also leading the league with a perfect wide receiver rating of 158.3. Gilmore had himself a solid game in his own right against Oakland, as he was targeted a team high 11 times, and only allowed a passer rating of 79.4. For the season, quarterbacks have a passer rating of 95.3 when targeting Gilmore (67th out of 118) and 117.4 when targeting Stills (13th out of 89).

Kenny Stills, wide receiver, Miami Dolphins

PFFELO Ranking: 1

Coverage by: Andrew Fleischer

Matchup: New England Patriots offense vs. Miami Dolphins defense

Rob Gronkowski, tight end, New England Patriots

  • WR Brandin Cooks vs. CB Xavien Howard — Among his six catches in Week 11 against Oakland, Brandin Cooks had a 52 yard reception and a 64 yard touchdown reception. 30 percent of his catches have gone for 20 yards or more, the fourth-highest percentage among qualified wide receivers, and his 52.4 catch rate on those passes is the third highest. He’ll frequently draw the coverage of Xavien Howard, whose struggles this year have earned him a 34.5 overall grade, the second worst among 118 qualified cornerbacks. His 5.8 tackle efficiency rating is tied for the ninth lowest mark out of 83 qualified cornerbacks.

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