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Friday, November 30, 2012
Dierdorf on Patriots-Dolphins

By Mike Reiss

Sunday's game between the Patriots and Dolphins will be broadcast on CBS, with Greg Gumbel (play-by-play) and Dan Dierdorf (analysis) on the call. In advance of the matchup, some of Dierdorf's thoughts:

On the Patriots. "The Patriots are just playing lights-out football. Coaching staffs always go back and watch the four previous games really closely. I’m sure that wasn’t a fun experience for the Miami coaching staff, especially the defensive coaching staff. You can’t play offensive football any better than the Patriots have been playing it on this five-game winning streak."

On Patriots QB Tom Brady. "There has been so much attention lavished on Peyton Manning, and justifiably so for the year he’s having, that you just don’t hear Tom Brady’s name kicked around when the MVP discussion is taking place. You just hear people wonder if Manning going to win the MVP and the Comeback Player of the Year in the same year. But Tom Brady has had 24 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He’s 35 years old and he’s never looked better. He’s looking just like he looked back in 2007 when he threw 50 touchdowns. It’s quite a sight to see."

On the Dolphins. "Miami has a new system, a new coach and is a team trying to establish an identity. There’s a lot to like about this Miami team, but any way you look at it, it’s a rookie quarterback going up against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. I have no idea what Belichick’s career record is against rookie quarterbacks, but I would imagine that it’s staggeringly high in his favor."

Key for the Dolphins. "Miami is going to have to re-create the running performance they had against Seattle last week. Sometimes the old strategies that worked 50 years ago still work today. Miami has to shorten the game and possess the football. They have to keep Tom Brady on the sideline, and you do that by effectively running the football. If Miami cannot run the football, if they are forced to have Ryan Tannehill try to win the game by throwing, that will play right into the Patriots’ hands. And that will be trouble. Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas are going to have to get loose. They’re going to have to get away from Vince Wilfork somehow and have a big day."