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Patriots cruising toward first round bye

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots Getty Images

The Patriots guarantee themselves a week off with a victory over the Dolphins on Sunday and they are halfway to that bye.

They lead the Dolphins 21-0 at halftime in Foxborough, a score that’s reflective of how just about everything has gone the Patriots’ way thus far in Week 17. New England has outgained Miami 279-106, they’ve sacked Ryan Tannehill twice, intercepted him once and even got to watch Nate Kaeding miss a 41-yard field goal at the end of the one positive drive the Dolphins were able to manage.

Rob Gronkowski has played a fair amount in his return to the lineup from a broken forearm and helped set up the team’s first touchdown with a 19-yard catch. It’s the only catch of the half for Gronkowski, but there’s been no visible signs that he won’t be able to help them a great deal come the postseason.

The only negative for New England was the loss of defensive end Rob Ninkovich to a hip injury in the second quarter. Ninkovich needed assistance getting off the field and his return is being called questionable by the team. Ninkovich has eight sacks this season as an essential part of their front seven mix and locking down that bye would make it likelier that he’ll be healthy enough to remain one come the postseason.

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26 Responses to “Patriots cruising toward first round bye”
  1. atwatercrushesokoye says: Dec 30, 2012 6:00 PM

    See you in Denver in 3 weeks, let’s see you try to run that breakneck speed at Mile High…

  2. wannstache says: Dec 30, 2012 6:03 PM

    After watching the Colts today I’m fully realizing what an epic failure the Dolphin organization is. The Colts, who were in much worse shape at the end of last year, have turned things around in ONE SEASON. 5 years in (or 3, if you believe his lies), and we are no better under Ireland’s tenure than before he showed up. Only an incompetent owner would see this and allow it to continue. Sucks to be us, Dolfans.

  3. tdrundmc says: Dec 30, 2012 6:03 PM

    How convenient that the Patsies get a 4 pm start at home for the last week of the season.

  4. cmdrsmooth says: Dec 30, 2012 6:05 PM

    With Giants out..Pats will cruise to a Super Bowl win. Guaranteed.

  5. bucslose says: Dec 30, 2012 6:14 PM

    Looking at the AFC teams in the playoffs, just shows you how weak it is this year. Ravens are frauds, Bengals arent much better, Colts are a young team that has a year or two before it may be a serious threat, Houston…what can you even say they took advantage of a bad AFC and choked down the stretch.

    Pats and Broncos are the only two teams worth a damn, and even as they stand, they are not exactly close to being great.

  6. bucslose says: Dec 30, 2012 6:16 PM

    Pats will most likely being going to the Super Bowl again. I like Denver, but to beat the Pats you can not let Brady just sit and bake cookies in the pocket. He gets all day to throw the ball way too much. I dont see the Broncos with enough of a pass rush to stop them.

    NFC isnt much better if you look at it. Id say the Pats will win it all. This may sound stupid but I really think the team with the best shot to beat the Pats in the Super Bowl (should they make it), are the Seahawks. Great defense and an offense that doesnt make a lot of mistake.

  7. bucslose says: Dec 30, 2012 6:19 PM

    One more thing. I dont care for Houston, but it ticks me off that they turned out to be a joke. I really wanted it to be a rougher road for the Pats this year, and they just made it that much easier for them.

    Houston is going to seriously have to look at their QB situation. Sorry, but Shaub is never going to lead them to a title. Not consistent and bad when the pressure for his team to win is really on. Their secondary is still a mess as well. We may have thought the Texans finally turned a corner, but im starting to wonder if the corner they turned is now to the other direction, back to a mediocre team.

  8. 8man says: Dec 30, 2012 6:29 PM

    No predictions, but go figure that teams led by Brady and Manning are at the top of the AFC again.

    Both guys just keep getting it done.

  9. shootscuz says: Dec 30, 2012 6:30 PM

    Bucslose you are insane. Who in the NFC is so much better than the Pats and Broncos? And you say the Broncos don’t have enough pass rush for the Pats. The Broncos lead the league in sacks genius. Von had 2 alone in the last meeting and the D is now greatly improved.

  10. atwatercrushesokoye says: Dec 30, 2012 6:33 PM

    Bucslose: you’re kidding right? Denver is second in the nfl in sacks and though you may not know of them you may want to look at Elvis and Von….they’re pretty good.

    Add to that the Pats don’t have enough defense to slow down the Broncos offense, Denver will score early and often and they will beat the Patriots!

  11. flash1283 says: Dec 30, 2012 6:39 PM

    shootscuz says:
    Dec 30, 2012 6:30 PM
    Bucslose you are insane. Who in the NFC is so much better than the Pats and Broncos? And you say the Broncos don’t have enough pass rush for the Pats. The Broncos lead the league in sacks genius. Von had 2 alone in the last meeting and the D is now greatly improved.


    It’s only “greatly improved ” because of the crapy offenses they have played the last 11 weeks.

    It’s still the same Denver D that doesn’t match up with NE’s offense.
    Same Denver D that has allowed 45, 45 and 31 vs NE the last 3 times they played in a year and a half.

  12. ghjjf says: Dec 30, 2012 6:40 PM

    The colts were a playoff team that tanked a season for the number 1 pick. No comparison to the dolphins that had several years of bad football decisions and no playoffs.

  13. shogunassasin30 says: Dec 30, 2012 6:41 PM

    Bucslose : Denver is Top 5 in Defense AND Offense. Elvis Dumervil, and some guy named Von Miller kinda know how to get to the Quarterback as well. Denver’s win margin during their now 11 game win streak is among the highest in NFL history. They are the highest scoring second half team at 18.8 in NFL history. Oh by the way, they now have homefield advantage for the playoffs. What in the world, in that brain of yours makes you think New England is gonna go into Denver and stomp them? New England and Denver aren’t just the best teams in the AFC, they are the best teams in the NFL. By far.

  14. bucslose says: Dec 30, 2012 6:41 PM

    shootscuz,

    I should have clarified. The NFC is not great either. The caliber of teams league wide has been mediocre the last couple seasons. A lot of average, inconsistent teams.

    I stand corrected on the sack statistics of the Broncos. Ill give you that. If they do meet, going to still be a very tough game for the Broncos. Manning isnt always at his best when he plays the Pats and in the playoffs.

  15. j0esixpack says: Dec 30, 2012 6:46 PM

    @ wannstache

    The other possibility is that the Colts weren’t as bad as they looked last year – with the owner even passing on better available QBs and actively trying to lose games to gain the organization’s next franchise quarterback

    That would be another explanation for what we’ve seen – taking cheating to a whole new level

  16. nicepak381 says: Dec 30, 2012 6:50 PM

    This young QB for Miami is very good. The Fins are playing a pretty strong game against NE, holding their explosive offense down. The Pats are too motivated to let this one get away, though.

  17. 8man says: Dec 30, 2012 6:58 PM

    ghjjf says:
    Dec 30, 2012 6:40 PM
    The colts were a playoff team that tanked a season for the number 1 pick.
    ———————————————————-
    I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought that more than once this year.

    So, I’m not alone.

  18. flash1283 says: Dec 30, 2012 7:06 PM

    atwatercrushesokoye says:
    Dec 30, 2012 6:33 PM
    Bucslose: you’re kidding right? Denver is second in the nfl in sacks and though you may not know of them you may want to look at Elvis and Von….they’re pretty good.

    Add to that the Pats don’t have enough defense to slow down the Broncos offense, Denver will score early and often and they will beat the Patriots!


    Maybe you should flip that, Denver’s defense doesn’t have enough to stop NE’s offense.

    Again, look at the last 3 times they have played in a year and a half
    45, 45 and 31 this year without Hernandez.

    Still the same players on the Denver D.
    LB’s that are too small, they can’t cover the TE’s.

    And NE’s defense isn’t the same since they added Talib.

    And please , Jack Del Rio!!
    Take a look at Brady vs a Jack Del Rio Defense.

  19. tdrundmc says: Dec 30, 2012 7:06 PM

    Bill Belicheat

  20. tedmurph says: Dec 30, 2012 7:17 PM

    @atwatercrushes okoye:

    Be careful what you wish for pal. If these two teams end up meeting, it’s not the matchup Denver wants, even at home. Denver’s D, good as it is, can’t stop the Pats.

    12/18/11: Pats put up 41@Denver
    1/14/12: Pats put up 45(think it was 35@halftime)
    This yr: Pats put up 31 halfway thru the 3rd qtr.

    You can say Denver is better now than then, but so are the Pats, especially since the aquisition of Talib and the shifting at other positions.

    Del Rio 0-6 against Pats. Manning’s poor record is well known. Keep flappin’your gums, we’ll see.

  21. tdrundmc says: Dec 30, 2012 7:29 PM

    The pats defense got lit up by Chad Henne..their defense stinks. Talib is a head case.

  22. ddogdaddy says: Dec 30, 2012 7:51 PM

    @j0esexpics

    I don’t you think you have thought this through. Haven’t you been paying attention? Luck is terrible. He very seldoms completes 50% of his passes and leads the league in turnovers. Sorry to have to point out how stupid you are but I am just trying to help you out. You know the guys that sit on park benches and keep repeating the same idiotic thing over and over. Hate to have people think the same thing about you. Oops sorry, to late.

  23. flash1283 says: Dec 30, 2012 8:00 PM

    tdrundmc says:
    Dec 30, 2012 7:29 PM
    The pats defense got lit up by Chad Henne..their defense stinks. Talib is a head case.

    —–
    Maybe you should check your facts.
    Henne did his damage on the first 2 drives when Taliban was not in the game
    He did nothing after that.

  24. patriotinvasion says: Dec 30, 2012 8:06 PM

    @tdrundmc…Yea, Henne lit the Pats up to the tune of a scorching 16 points and a Loss…get outta here herb

  25. tedmurph says: Dec 30, 2012 8:16 PM

    @ddogdaddy:

    Luck is terrible? Hard to decide who’s more clueless, Dolphins fans or their staff. Luck has made the difference this year, despite not having great stats. He has 1 decent skill player. The difference is, he has the intangibles to make big plays when the game is on the line. He’s a winner. That more than makes up for a bad completion % and some bad picks. Dolphins fan trying to help someone out. Good one.

  26. rc33 says: Jan 2, 2013 5:11 PM

    atwatercrushesokoye says: Dec 30, 2012 6:00 PM

    See you in Denver in 3 weeks, let’s see you try to run that breakneck speed at Mile High…
    ——————————–
    …and let’s see if you can avoid falling behind 31-7 like you did in Foxboro this past October.

    Oh but the Broncos are sooo much better now.
    So by all indications, no team other than Denver has improved throughout the course of the season. Got it.

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