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Game 16 preview: Dolphins at Patriots

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff  December 30, 2012 12:53 PM

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FOXBOROUGH -- Not only will the Patriots' seeding in the AFC playoffs be determined after Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins, with a legitimate chance at a first-round bye, but the Patriots can also sweep the AFC East, a feat the team has only accomplished once, in 2007.

The Patriots faced the Dolphins at the beginning of December, winning 23-16 in a more contested affair than the odds had foreseen. Tom Brady led a fourth quarter drive that ate up seven minutes of game clock and Stephen Gostkowski kicked a game-clinching field goal.

The Dolphins have won their last two games and are fighting to finish the season at .500 with a win today. They'll be without wide receiver Davone Bess, who is suffering from a back injury.

The Patriots' Rob Gronkowski could return today. He's been limited in practice the past two weeks after suffering a broken forearm on Nov. 18. He had surgery the following day.

New England can hit a number of milestones today. Stevan Ridley needs 11 yards to become the fifth Patriots player to reach 1,200 yards in a season. The Patriots need one more first down to break an NFL record for first downs in a season. They currently have 416.

The game will be dedicated in part to broadcasters Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti. This is Santos's final season with Patriots before he retires and Cappelletti retired before the season started.

It will be Santos' 743rd game called. Both Santos and Cappelletti will be introduced to fans before the game and will call the first series together.

Here are the details for today's game:

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m.

Records: Patriots 11-4; Dolphins 7-8.

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

Projected starting lineups:
Based on information distributed to the media, practice observations, and injuries for each team.

Patriots offense: WR Wes Welker, LT Nate Solder, LG Logan Mankins, C Ryan Wendell, RG Dan Connolly, RT Sebastian Vollmer, TE Michael Hoomanawanui, WR Brandon Lloyd, QB Tom Brady, RB Stevan Ridley, TE Aaron Hernandez.

Patriots defense: NT Vince Wilfork, DT Kyle Love, DE Chandler Jones, DE Rob Ninkovich, LB Dont'a Hightower, LB Jerod Mayo, LB Mike Rivera, CB Aqib Talib, CB Kyle Arrington, S Devin McCourty, S Steve Gregory.

Dolphins offense: WR Brian Hartline, LT Jonathan Martin, LG Richie Incognito, C Mike Pouncey, RG John Jerry, RT Nate Garner, TE Anthony Fasano, WR Marlon Moore, QB Ryan Tannehill, FB Jorvorskie Lane, RB Reggie Bush.

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

Inactives
(more to come)

Patriots: TBA

Dolphins: WR Davone Bess (back).

@zuriberry

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

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