The Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots will wrap up their 2019 regular-season schedules with a meeting in Foxborough, Mass., on Sunday.

Don’t tell the 53 Dolphins standing on the sidelines that this is a tanking team, because they aren’t buying it. The Dolphins put up 38 points on the Bengals Sunday in a game that locked the Bengals into the No. 1 draft pick.

After beating the Bills last Saturday, the Patriots now have the AFC East locked up, but you can bet the Dolphins won’t give them an easy path to the No. 2 seed in the playoffs and a first-round bye.

With a win over the Dolphins, the Patriots lock up the No. 2 seed and some time back home at Gillette. If the Patriots lose Sunday, they need the Chiefs to lose as well, or they fall to the third seed.

The only number that the Dolphins are playing for on Sunday is where they will pick inside if the top five in the NFL Draft. That being said, Miami always gives the Patriots a good run for their money. Read on for a betting preview of this important AFC East contest.

Looking to the Future

Miami should probably start Josh Rosen this week, if nothing else, to see what it has going forward. All signs point to them starting Ryan Fitzpatrick, though, to see if he can thwart the Patriots’ home-field efforts, and show off a little of that FitzMagic once more.

Fitzpatrick has found a late-season connection with No. 1 wideout DeVante Parker, and the two look to carry that into Foxborough this weekend.

Parker has 1,065 yards on the season, to go along with nine touchdowns. Miami has him locked in for 2020, so it can see what kind of chemistry he has with whoever is under center for the team next season. Not many players on this roster have a return set in stone, but Parker is one of the few.

A Letdown for Some

The Patriots’ matchup with the Bills Saturday didn’t quite bring the excitement many hoped it would, at least many outside of Massachusetts anyway. Patriots fans get to flourish in their 11th straight AFC East championship, though, even if the future of the division doesn’t look as easy as it has been for the Patriots in years past. The Bills and Jets both look to be tougher opponents in 2020.

The Patriots’ defense, while it has faltered a bit of late, remains one of the top groups in the league. If we know anything about this team, it’s that if you give Tom Brady a defense, look out down the stretch.

The Patriots’ defense leads the league, giving up only 268.3 yards per game, but it has allowed nearly 310 in their last three contests. A number the Patriots look to improve against a well below-average Dolphins offense.

When It All Comes Down

It all comes down to this in the 2019 NFL season. It’s hard to believe that the regular season will have come and gone already, but we’re all in for some seriously fun betting down the stretch in the playoffs. Can the Dolphins slow the Patriots down and cause them to lose out on a bye? Can Fitzpatrick pull out one last magic trick? That remains to be seen. The Pats are favored by 15.5 points in the contest, with an over/under of 45.

The Patriots are 8-6-1 against the spread this season, while the Dolphins are 8-7 against the spread. That being said, it could make for an interesting game, more interesting to bet than many will give it credit for.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page. And for more from around the league, check out our NFL Public Consensus page.

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