WHEN THE PATRIOTS HAVE THE BALL
Miami has a nasty front-four. Cameron Wake (7.5 sacks) and Olivier Vernon (11.5 sacks) are the ends; Randy Starks and Paul Soliai are the tackles and Jared Odrick is a situational guy. On the edges, the Patriots have two dinged-up tackles – Nate Solder is coming off a concussion and Marcus Cannon is coming back from an ankle injury. The undersized Vernon – 6-2, 268 – will try to outquick Solder. Wake will try to blast Cannon or Will Svitek. And the Dolphins like to bring pressure right up the middle. Their linebackers can run – Dannell Ellerbe was one of the best defenders the Ravens had last year before going to Miami as a free agent. The pass rush makes the secondary potent. New England’s going to have to get some traction on the ground to get the heat off and they probably will be able to. The Patriots ran for 152 in the first meeting in October and the Chargers – a recent opponent with an offense similar to New England – got 154 on November 17. Entering another après-Gronk era, we’ll see what the Patriots cook up. Stevan Ridley needs to get paroled to give the Patriots their best shot.