The New England Patriots will be facing the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football without Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was suspended for the game because he hit Buffalo Bills defensive back TreDavious White in the back of the head during their game last week.
As expected, Gronkowski’s suspension affected the Patriots odds for the Dolphins game, but despite that, the Patriots are still heavy favorites to beat the Dolphins for the second time in three weeks.
The Patriots go into the game as 11 point road favorites, thanks to the fact that they have won five of their last six games against the Dolphins, which includes a 35-17 win two weeks ago in a game that Gronkowski caught two touchdown passes.
Patriots at Dolphins
Mon 12/11 @ 8:30pm
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL
With Gronkowski out of the lineup, the Patriots will turn to Dwayne Allen to fill his shoes. Allen has only five catches for 40 yards and a touchdown, but he will get the start for the Patriots because Martellus Bennett, whom they claimed off waivers during the season, was put on injured reserve at the end of November because of a shoulder injury.
Head coach Bill Belichick isn’t worried about Gronkowski missing the game because he has a lot of confidence in Allen.
Belichick said he believes Allen is ready to step up because he is always prepared and works hard to do his job. Belichick also wasn’t too concerned about Allen making mistakes and said he is fine with the mistakes as long as Allen learns from them and does better the next time up.
In 11 games against the Dolphins, Gronkowski has eight touchdown passes, and even without the All-Pro tight end, Dolphins coach Adam Gase said the Patriots will still be very tough to beat thanks to Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Gase said McDaniels does a good job of using the guys he has and putting them in different positions that forces defenses to try and figure out where everyone is and what they will be doing when the ball is snapped.
He added that McDaniels’ offensive game plan allows the Patriots to be good even when they don’t have their top guys available.
Since the Patriots drafted Gronkowski in 2010, the team is 20-5 without him and 9-0 without him since the start of the 2016 season.
The Patriots will be able to clinch the AFC East for the ninth consecutive year and the 17th time since Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994 if they defeat the Dolphins on Monday. They can also clinch the division title if the Bills lose to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
The Dolphins have already been eliminated from winning the division, but at 5-7, they still have a chance to make the playoffs. However, they will need to beat the Patriots to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, which is much easier said than done.
At 40-year-old, Tom Brady doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, and he will need only 47 yards on Monday to pass Warren Moon, who had 3,678 yards for the Seattle Seahawks in 1997, to get the record for most passing yards in a season by a quarterback older than 40.
New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins Betting Odds