NFL 2015 Week 8 Thursday Game Preview: Dolphins at Patriots

October 28, 2015

Week 8 in the NFL begins on Thursday night (CBS/NFLN, 8:25 PM ET) with a matchup of two red-hot division rivals, as the undefeated New England Patriots (6-0) will host the streaking Miami Dolphins (3-3) at Gillette Stadium.

New England enters Week 8 following a closely-contested 30-23 victory over the New York Jets.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady completed 34 of 54 passes for 355 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 94.3 passer rating in the win.  Brady did not get much help along the way from his teammates, as his receivers had multiple drops and the Pats' offense ran the ball just nine times.

Brady (55,312) surpassed 55,000 career passing yards and is only the fifth quarterback in NFL history to reach the mark, joining Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, and Drew Brees. The performance marked the 17th time in his career that Brady had at least 350 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, the most such games in NFL history.

“We are happy to come out victorious, but now the Jets are over with and it's onto Miami,” said New England defensive end Rob Ninkovich. “Another division game is definitely a tough game for us, and Miami always plays us tough. I just think we have to turn the page quickly.”

Since 2002, Brady has compiled an 8-0 record on Thursdays, including a 3-0 mark against the AFC East opponents. His 2,249 passing yards on Thursdays rank third in the AFC and his 20 touchdown passes on rank second in the conference during that span. Brady has also passed for at least two touchdowns in six of his eight Thursday starts.

Miami enters Week 8 seeking their third consecutive victory following a 44-26 victory over Houston.

The key to the Miami win streak has been a mid-season coaching change, as the 'Fins got hot once the team fired Joe Philbin and replaced him with Dan Campbell.

Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill completed 18 of 19 passes for 282 yards with four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 158.3 passer rating – the highest attainable mark – in the win over the Texans.

Tannehill completed his first 18 passes of the game, and combined with his seven completions in a row to end the Dolphins’ Week 6 game at Tennessee, set an NFL record with 25 consecutive completions (Donovan McNabb, 24 in 2004).

“It was wild,” said Tannehill about the team’s performance. “I’ve never been a part of a game like that. The defense was getting us the ball back quick so we had the momentum and we were able to keep the momentum.”

Also in the win, Dolphins running back Lamar Miller had a 54-yard touchdown reception and an 85-yard TD run – both in the second quarter. Miller joins Chris Johnson (September 20, 2009) as the only players in NFL history with an 85-plus yard touchdown run and 50-plus yard TD catch in a single game. Miller is the only player to accomplish the feat in a single quarter.

“This Thursday is our third divisional game and to have a pretty good chance to jockey for your position in the division, we really need this win,” said Dolphins head coach Dan Campbell. “They are not going to be easy, they never are. The physical will show up on Thursday night. It’s got to be about what’s between the ears. We have to be smart. We have to be on cue with how we’re going to attack this team.”

Heading into Thursday’s matchup, Tannehill has won two of his past three starts against New England. Tannehill also has a 2-1 record in three career games on Thursdays. In Tannehill’s last start on Thursday Night Football (11/13/14 vs. Buffalo), he completed 26 of 34 passes for 240 yards with two touchdowns for 114.8 rating.


Miami Dolphins

CB Brice McCain (knee)  

CB Zackary Bowman (shoulder), CB Brent Grimes (knee, ribs), LB Chris McCain (not injury related), QB Matt Moore (nose), LB Spencer Paysinger (groin), DT Jordan Phillips (ankle), C Mike Pouncey (hip)

New England Patriots

T Marcus Cannon (toe), LB Rufus Johnson (illness), DE Jabaal Sheard (ankle)

RB Brandon Bolden (hamstring), RB Dion Lewis (abdomen), WR Keshawn Martin (hamstring), G Shaquille Mason (knee)

DE Trey Flowers (knee, shoulder), LB Dont'a Hightower (ribs), G Josh Kline (shoulder)

By Staff of and news services

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