The NFL schedule has called for these two teams to meet twice per year, for each of the last 55 years. The matchups are usually split as far apart as possible, meaning we get an early season game counteracted with a December/January matchup that has slightly higher stakes. This game doesn't have particularly high stakes as both teams’ playoff fate has been decided. It does however give New England a good opportunity to prepare for their postseason run while looking to continue rolling on with the momentum they built up from a 40 point victory this past Sunday. I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to avenge their loss to Miami from earlier this season either.
In the 17 weeks since they last faced off, both teams have undergone changes. Let’s see how.
New England Patriots
Added to 53: WR N’Keal Harry, QB Jarrett Stidham, DB Myles Bryant, LB Jahlani Tavai
Lost from 53: RB James White, CB Jonathan Jones, LB Harvey Langi, DL Henry Anderson, K Quinn Nordin, LB Ronnie Perkins
The Patriots have made just four additions to the 53-man roster that they deployed on September 12, against the Dolphins. N’Keal Harry was activated off of injured reserve on Oct. 2 while Jarrett Stidham made his return from the physically unable to perform list on Nov. 9. New England signed both Myles Bryant and Jahlani Tavai off of practice squads in early October, with Bryant getting the permanent elevation from New England’s own squad on Oct. 18, just five days after New England added Tavai off of the Detroit Lions’ practice squad.
The losses of James White and Jonathan Jones have undoubtedly had an effect on the Patriots roster throughout the season, but New England has had a pair of players step up in their absence. Brandon Bolden has become New England’s full time third down back while Myles Bryant’s role as a do-it-all defensive back is molded off of a similar one that Jones has played since entering the league in 2016.
Added: RB Duke Johnson, RB Phillip Lindsay, LB Darius Hodge, LB Vince Biegel, LB Calvin Munson, TE Adam Shaheen, WR Isaiah Ford
Lost: WR Jakeem Grant, CB Jason McCourty, CB Jamal Perry, RB Malcolm Brown, OL Greg Little, CB Elijah Campbell
The Dolphins have had a serious problem finding consistent production out of their running back room in 2021. That has led to a pair of significant additions in Duke Johnson and Phillip Lindsay, with Johnson becoming the teams number one option at the position over the last few weeks. Former Patriot Calvin Munson has found himself on Miami’s active roster following stints on their practice squad and New England’s active roster. He is joined by fellow linebackers Darius Hodge and Vince Biegel who were each acquired off of other rosters mid season. Adam Shaheen and Isaiah Ford have each found themselves as on-again, off-again members of the Dolphins over the past two season.
Miami has lost a number of contributors to injured reserve, most notable former Patriot Jason McCourty who is also joined by Jamal Perry, Malcolm Brown, Greg Little, and Elijah Campbell. The Dolphins traded away former return man Jakeem Grant to the Chicago Bears in October.