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Welcome to Land Shark Stadium

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  December 6, 2009 09:52 AM

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Welcome to Land Shark Stadium, where the New England Patriots (7-4) will take on the Miami Dolphins (5-6) at 1 p.m.

It's a beautiful day here in Miami Gardens, which is about a 25-minute drive from downtown Miami. It's sunny, and temperatures are expected to stay in the lower to mid-70's. There's a slight chance of rain, but nothing like the snow that blasted New England last night and early this morning. In other words, it's a true home field advantage for the Dolphins.

And how about that home field? Miami is averaging 30.2 points per game in this building, but they're just 3-2 in those contests. This game has obvious meaning in the AFC East, where the Jets sit at 2-4, the Dolphins sit at 3-2, and the Patriots hold a slim lead at 3-1. A loss in Miami today would make things a lot more interesting for New England.

Mercifully for those covering (and watching) this game, today's contest was moved up from an 8:20 start time to 1 p.m. That means you'll get to watch it without getting too sleepy, and we'll get to post all of the Globe's Pats-Dolphins coverage online before 3 a.m. It's a win all around.

The early start hasn't slowed the tailgating outside the stadium. It's like a beach party out there. There's a benefit to playing games in south Florida.

Back with plenty more from Kilgore, Walker, Breer, Gasper, and myself as we approach gametime.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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