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Game 12 preview: Patriots at Dolphins

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  December 2, 2012 10:28 AM

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Welcome to slightly-overcast Florida, where the New England Patriots will take on the Miami Dolphins at 1 p.m.

It's a hat-and-T-shirt game for the Patriots, meaning they can clinch the AFC East title with a win and then find commemorative attire at their locker after the game. Winning the division is often the first goal Patriots head coach Bill Belichick mentions early in the season, though the Patriots aren't likely to over-celebrate if they win this one. Saddled with their usual expectations of being one of the NFL's best teams, the Patriots have larger goals ahead.

This is the first of two games between these teams, who meet again in Foxborough on Dec. 30 in the final week of the regular season. Stopping the dynamic Reggie Bush has been a hot topic in New England this week, but limiting rookie quarterback Ryan Tannenhill is also a concern. Tannehill has thrown for 2,373 yards, completing 59 percent of his passes. He's thrown seven touchdown passes and 12 interceptions, and he's been sacked 20 times. Those last two numbers could play right into the hands of New England's opportunistic defense. The Patriots are plus-24 (32 takeaways, 8 giveaways).

New England's team bus arrived at Sun Life Stadium shortly after 10 a.m. Julian Edelman (concussion) and Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee) are both here, and both players have been activated for today's game. One thing to watch out for this afternoon are some strong winds that could be a factor in the kicking and passing games.

The Patriots have won the last four meetings between these teams, though Miami's last three wins over the Patriots have come in December.

What are you looking for in today's game? Leave a comment and come back to Extra Points after kickoff to follow along. Today's game details are below:

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

Records: Patriots 8-3; Dolphins 5-6

Last meeting: 2011 at New England: Patriots 27, Dolphins 24

Overall series:
Dolphins lead, 50-43

TV/Radio info: CBS; 98.5 FM The Sports Hub (Gil Santos, Scott Zolak).

Projected starting lineups:

Patriots offense: WR Wes Welker, LT Nate Solder, LG Donald Thomas, C Ryan Wendell, RG Dan Connolly, RT Marcus Cannon, TE Aaron Hernandez, WR Brandon Lloyd, QB Tom Brady, RB Danny Woodhead, RB Stevan Ridley.

Dolphins offense: WR Brian Hartline, LT Jake Long, LG Richie Incognito, C Mike Pouncey, RG John Jerry, RT Jonathan Martin, TE Anthony Fasano, WR Davone Bess, QB Ryan Tannehill, FB Javorskie Lane, RB Reggie Bush

Patriots defense: LE Rob Ninkovich, DT Vince Wilfork, DT Kyle Love, RE Justin Francis, LB Don’t’a Hightower, LB Jerod Mayo, LB Brandon Spikes, CB Aquib Talib, CB Kyle Arrington, S Steve Gregory, S Devin McCourty

Dolphins defense: DE Jared Odrick, DT Randy Starks, DT Paul Soliai, DE Cameron Wake, OLB Kevin Burnett, , MLB Karlos Dansby, OLB Koa Misi, CB Sean Smith, CB Nolan Carroll, S Chris Clemons, S Reshad Jones

Patriots inactives:Chandler Jones, Rob Gronkowski, Logan Mankins, Mitch Petrus, Visanthe Shiancoe, James Develon and Derrick Martin.

Dolphins inactives:
Pat Devlin, Jonathon Amaya, Josh Kaddu, Will Yeatman, Michael Egnew, Kyle Miller, Kheeston Randall.

The National Anthem will be performed by Sherl Burke.

Here's a list of Globe reporters to follow on Twitter during today's game:
Michael Whitmer (@GlobeWhitmer); Dan Shaughnessy (@Dan_Shaughnessy); Greg A. Bedard (@GregABedard); Shalise Manza Young (@ShaliseMYoung).

Enjoy the game.

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

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