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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Miami will do well to contain New England star Danny Amendola

Patriots should have little trouble completing double over Dolphins

New England's Danny Amendola celebrates his touchdown against Oakland in Mexico City
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Week 14
Sky Sports Action & Main Event, 1.30am Monday night

It's just two weeks since New England scored a comfortable 35-17 home win over Miami and the Super Bowl favourites should have little trouble completing a quick sweep of their AFC East rivals.

Bill Belichick's side have since scored an equally bloodless 23-3 victory over Buffalo to stretch their winning run to eight games, although it came at a cost with star tight end Rob Gronkowski picking up a one-game suspension for a needless late hit on Bills defensive back Tre’Davious White.

Their Foxborough defeat was Miami's fifth straight loss, but they managed to end that run in surprising comfort with a 35-9 home win over Denver last week.

It may be best not to read too much into that result, however, as the Broncos are in even worse shape than the Dolphins and were losing their eighth game in a row after a 3-1 start.

The Patriots are asked to give up a double-figure handicap start, which seems reasonable as they have no room for complacency in their battle with Pittsburgh for the top seeding in the AFC playoffs.

Miami often shrink in the national spotlight - they have lost seven of their last eight Monday night games and failed to cover the handicap in any of them.

By contrast the Patriots relish the big occasion and have won 16 of their last 19 night games, covering the handicap in the last six.

Gronkowski's absence should not mean that the Pats turn away from their passing game and with Miami missing starting cornerback Cordrea Tankersley, Tom Brady should be in business all night.

The pace of Brandin Cooks proved too much for Miami to handle in the first meeting and the Patriots are also set to get Chris Hogan back from injury.

However, many of the plays that usually target Gronk in the middle of the field could be redirected to Danny Amendola, who looks a decent bet to get on the scoresheet.

D Amendola to score a touchdown
1pt 13-8 Paddy Power

The lowdown
Venue Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
Surface Grass
Weather Clear and dry, 13C
Vegas handicap New England -11
Vegas points line 47.5

Team news
New England
Tight end Rob Gronkowski is suspended. Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle) and linebacker Kyle Van Noy (calf) have been ruled out. Wide receiver Chris Hogan (shoulder) and running back Dion Lewis (illness) are among 11 players listed as questionable.

Cornerback Cordrea Tankersley (ankle, shoulder) looks likely to miss the game. Safety Michael Thomas (knee) is rated queastionable. Back-up quarterback Matt Moore (foot), guard Jermon Bushrod (foot) and running back Damien Williams (shoulder) have been ruled out. Defensive tackle Davon Godchaux (knee) is set to return from injury.

Key stat
New England have covered the handicap in eight of their last nine road games.

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New England have covered the handicap in eight of their last nine road games
E.W. Terms
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