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Dolphins have been great at winning close games since the start of 2016

The Patriots can’t let Miami hang around.

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins have been able to exceed expectations in close games since Adam Gase was named head coach in 2016 and the New England Patriots know they can’t allow the Dolphins to hang around on Sunday.

You look at a team like the Dolphins that have won so many close games in the last two years, have come from behind in the fourth quarter,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said, “[and] have won, I mean, until Oakland beat them a couple weeks ago, I don’t know whatever it was – 11 straight close games they’ve won.”

Miami is an impressive 12-3 (.800) in games decided by 7 or fewer points, tied for the best in the NFL over the past two seasons. They actually won twelve (12) straight close games, from week 3 of the 2016 season through their loss against the Raiders in week 9 of this year.

The Dolphins have also put together a 5-13 record when they enter the fourth quarter with a deficit under Gase, which doesn’t sound impressive, but is actually the fourth-best record in the NFL over that time, behind the Raiders (6-10), Pittsburgh Steelers (4-8), and Kansas City Chiefs (3-7).

“They’ve been in a lot of those [close games] and they’ve performed very well in them,” Belichick added.

On the flip side, the Patriots have only trailed in four games entering the final quarter, the fewest in the NFL, and have a 1-3 record. So if experience in these games matter, the Dolphins have the decisive edge.

Of course the Patriots were the team that defeated the Dolphins 31-24 in week 2 of the 2016 season, the last time that Miami had lost a single-score game before finally fell to the Raiders in week 9 of this year.

And that team Miami is tied in first place for in games decided by 7 or fewer points? It’s the New England Patriots at 8-2. So while the Patriots would love to win in a blowout, they’re just as prepared to win a game that comes down to the wire.