Where the heck is Mercury Morris?
I thought for sure someone (ahem, ESPN) would have dug up the former Dolphins running back by now so that he could announce to the world why neither the 7-0 Colts nor Saints pose a threat to his 1972 team’s perfect 16-0 record.
Yet, nothing, not even after Ted Ginn Jr.’s 101-yard kickoff return against the Jets last weekend, second only in team history to Morris’ 105-yarder in 1969. Not even to celebrate today’s 28-year-anniversary of his 20-year sentencing for drug trafficking. Not even as the Dolphins prepare to take on his favorite team to hate, the Patriots, this weekend in Foxborough.
Instead, we’ve had to settle solely for Joey Porter, who, frankly, we realized was still playing only just this week. Porter hates the Patriots, hates Bill Belichick, hates Tom Brady, hates the New England throwback uniforms, hates Route One traffic, and hates the menu at the Foxborough Davio’s.
“I have a natural hate for them — period,” Porter said. “And that’s just going to be with me forever. That’s not ever going to change.”
Yawn. Lame. Bring us back to the good, old times, Mr. Morris.
Who they’re picking
Our roundup of picks for this week’s Dolphins-Patriots game:
- Greg Cote, Miami Herald: Patriots 31, Dolphins 24. “I find the Dolphins unpredictable. Based on my season record I evidently find most teams to be unpredictable, but Miami even more so. Will the Wildcat run wild or mild? Will the good or bad Chad Henne show up? Will the pass defense beat or be beaten? Will we curse Ted Ginn or love him? But the Patriots I do not find unpredictable. They are almost always good, and there is no team I trust more at home, coming off a bye. Jason Taylor would be a Patriot today if Miami hadn’t wanted him back, but NE’s defense is fine without him. Also, Tom Brady is hot, his “struggles” against Miami are overblown, and Dolphs’ run of five straight division W’s is due to end. Having said all that I give Miami a medium-sized outright upset shot and like the locals getting an outrageous, disrespecting 10 ½ points.”
- Cold, Hard Football Facts: Patriots 28, Dolphins 20. “The Patriots appeared to regain their dominance over their past two games, including a phenomenal streak where they scored 80 straight points. Miami has struggled this year against good teams: 0-4 against Quality Opponents, while being outscored by nearly 10 PPG. The Dolphins have also struggled to stop the pass, surrendering 8.2 YPA through the air. Only Tampa (8.7) is worse. And here comes Tom Brady appearing to find his groove.”
- ESPN.com staff: Patriots across the board.
- Globe Staff picks: Patriots across the board.
- Peter King, Sports Illustrated: Patriots 27, Dolphins 22. ” The Dolphins are the 49ers of the AFC — a better team than 3-4 indicates. And this game is vital to their playoff prayers. They’ll be in it for 60 minutes, but I sided with the Patriots when I saw Tom Brady say the other day he’s never felt better. Hmmmm. Brady, Chad Henne. Henne, Brady. In Foxboro. I can’t see Miami winning.”
- Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Patriots 31, Dolphins 17. ” You think New England will be ready for the Wildcat this time? Bet they are. That means Chad Henne will have to play well. That’s tough against the Patriots defense. New England is coming off a bye and the Dolphins are playing back-to-back road games. That’s a recipe for a blowout.”
- CBS Sports staff: Three out of six pick the Patriots vs. the 10.5-point spread.
- Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Patriots 23, Dolphins 16. “Coming off an open week, Bill Belichick will have plenty of blitz and coverage surprises for Dolphins second-year QB Chad Henne. On the other side, Jason Taylor and Joey Porter will do their best to get into Tom Brady’s face, but he’ll get the ball out quickly enough to have Randy Moss and Wes Welker burn Miami’s young secondary.”
- Peter Schrager, FoxSports.com: Dolphins 30, Patriots 24. “Here’s your upset pick of the week, folks. Miami trekked up to Foxboro last year and shocked the football world by Wildcattin’ the Patriots into a 38-13 victory. In three career starts against division opponents, Chad Henne is 3-0 and has completed 46 of 69 passes (66.7 percent) for 468 yards with four touchdowns vs. zero interceptions. With the running game leading the way, Henne will get the best of a certain other ex-Michigan gunslinger on Sunday.”
- USA Today staff: Patriots across the board.
- Pete O’Brien, USA Today: Patriots 31, Dolphins 17. “Dolphins have discovered the strange key to getting Ted Ginn Jr. into the end zone is completely freezing him out of the offense.”
- Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times: Patriots 30, Dolphins 14. “Tom Brady should be able to take advantage of Miami’s rookie corners, and the Dolphins’ wildcat has sputtered the last two weeks against the Saints and Jets.”
- Yahoo! sports staff: Patriots across the board.
- Our pick: Patriots 27, Dolphins 24. Ronnie Brown could be a free agent next spring. Ask yourself how good he’d look in the New England backfield.