The New England Patriots host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday before hitting the road and playing the Buffalo Bills in week 13 and squaring off against the Dolphins in Miami in week 14. With two games against the Dolphins over the next three weeks, you might expect the Patriots to have a few wrinkles in their game plan to make sure that Miami isn’t seeing the same scheme twice.
That mentality makes sense in theory, but not in the reality of the Patriots where they only focus on the league one week at a time. New England is going to give the Dolphins all they can handle on Sunday and not think twice about week 14.
“I think you prepare for this game the best you can and give yourself the best opportunity to perform well and win,” head coach Bill Belichick said on Tuesday, “and then worry about next week, next week.”
“We’re aware of the schedule, certainly, but I would say that our focus offensively is going to be on what we need to do to try to put together the best plan we can to help us win this weekend,” Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels echoed. “If there’s something else we need to do down the road to adjust or protect ourselves from something that we’ve done before, then I think you worry about that at that time.”
“We're going to go and just try to make sure that we're doing everything we can to win this week,” Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia agreed. “This is the most important week we have is going out and trying to improve from last week, get better and certainly try to do a good job against a very talented Dolphins team.”
So there you have it. The Patriots top three coaches are all in agreement that they’re not going to limit themselves in any way because they’re going to face the Dolphins in three weeks. There’s no point in holding back if it could affect New England’s chances of winning, right?
And that doesn’t mean that the playcalling in the first game won’t affect the second. But instead of viewing the two games as halves of a season series, the coaches are viewing them as building blocks, with schemes laid down in the first game potentially helping to pay dividends in the second game.
“I'm sure we'll see things in the game that'll play a part into the next one,” Patricia added, “but we've got to make sure that we're just handling our business for the current one.”
The Patriots are simply going to unleash their playbook on the Dolphins- and that could make the re-match even more interesting.