The New England Patriots visit the Miami Dolphins in Week 14 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
Coverage by: Andrew Fleischer
Matchup: New England Patriots offense vs. Miami Dolphins defense
- QB Tom Brady vs. CB Cordrea Tankersley – Something’s changed for Tom Brady since our Week 12 Patriots game preview; he’s now top-10 among quarterbacks in every PFF signature stat, having raised his completion percentage when using play action to 70.4, which now ranks fifth among quarterbacks. He’s also notably increased his completion percentage on deep passes to 50.0 percent, second-best among quarterbacks. His favorite target defensively on 20-plus yard throws in Week 12 was Dolphins cornerback Cordrea Tankersley, and after Brady completed all five passes into his coverage for 95 yards, there’s little reason to expect that to change. Tankersley has allowed 1.27 yards per snap in coverage, 81st-most out of 119 qualifying cornerbacks, while his tackle efficiency rating of 12.0 in coverage is tied for 53rd among qualifying cornerbacks.
Editors Note: Tankersley has been declared doubtful to play on Monday night.
- G Shaq Mason vs. DI Jordan Phillips and DI Ndamukong Suh – Shaq Mason’s overall grade of 83.5 is the ninth-highest among 76 qualifying guards, and his run-blocking grade of 87.8 is fifth-highest. Mason will see plenty of defensive tackles Jordan Phillips and Ndamukong Suh, a formidable duo. While both are extremely effective pass-rushers (Phillips’ pass-rush productivity rating of 10.6 is fourth among 67 qualifying defensive tackles), Suh may retain the advantage in the run game. Mason does hold a high run blocking grade, but Suh’s run defense grade of 91.3 is second among all 126 interior defenders this season. The battle in the trenches on both pass and run plays may go a long way in determining the outcome of this game.
- RB Dion Lewis vs. LB Kiko Alonso – Dion Lewis’ 87.9 overall PFF grade is now the third-highest among 59 eligible running backs. In the Week 12 meeting of these teams, his 15 running attempts matched a season high, and his 112 rushing yards were his most yet. His elusive rating of 104.3 for the season is the second-best out of 50 qualifying running backs. He should have the advantage in matchups with linebacker Kiko Alonso, as the Dolphins linebacker’s run-stop percentage of 5.4 is tied for the seventh-lowest among qualified linebackers. Perhaps more importantly against Dion Lewis, Alonso’s 10.6 tackle efficiency rating against the run is 83rd among 128 qualified linebackers.
PFFELO Ranking: 26
Coverage by: Cyrus Geller
Matchup: Miami Dolphins offense vs. New England Patriots defense
- WR DeVante Parker vs. CB Stephon Gilmore – Based on their play as of late, this matchup favors the Patriots. When targeting Parker this season, quarterbacks have a passer rating of 51.7, which is 84th out of 88 qualified receivers. Over the last three weeks, Stephon Gilmore has allowed a passer rating of 44.0 when targeted, which is 11th best out of 109 qualified cornerbacks. Gilmore has had a strong overall season, as his coverage grade of 87.2 is 10th out of 117 qualified cornerbacks this season. Parker will certainly have his work cut out for him.
- WR Kenny Stills vs. CB Malcolm Butler – Stills has had an up-and-down season, as he currently ranks 21st out of 88 receivers in passer rating when targeted at 106.1, and his overall grade of 71.4 puts him 59th out of 116 qualified receivers. The same can be said for Malcolm Butler, who is the 40th highest-graded cornerback out of 115 that qualify at 79.6, and he is 58th out of 119 corners in yards allowed per coverage snap at 1.12. Both of these players have shown they can be great at certain points this season, so it will be interesting to see who gains the upper hand this week.
- WR Jarvis Landry vs. CB Jonathan Jones – When these two teams faced off a few weeks ago, Landry saw a lot of Jones in the slot, and he clearly won that battle. Landry was targeted six times when Jones was covering him, and he caught five of those balls for 46 yards. Landry ranks 14th in catch rate in the slot at 75.4 out of 59 qualified receivers, and Jones ranks 12th in passer rating allowed out of the slot at 81.7. This will be a fun matchup to monitor.