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Even without Gronkowski, the Pats are big favorites against Miami



MIAMI (AP) Good news for the Miami Dolphins: They will not face New England tight end Rob Gronkowski on Monday night.

However, it may not matter, given the disparity between teams in unbalanced rivalry.

All-Pro tight end of the Patriots will stay out serving a game suspension for a free late charge at the head of the Buffalo Bills defense, Tre & # 39; Davious White.

Still, New England is an 11-point favorite on the road. That line did not have a budget after the suspension of Gronkowski was announced.

The Patriots (1

0-2) have won five of their last six games against Miami (5-7), including a beating from 35-17 two weeks ago, when Gronkowski caught two touchdown passes.

Here are some things to know about the rematch:

REPLACING GRONK: With Gronk out, New England will turn to Dwayne Allen, who has suffered a difficult season.

The Patriots exchanged for him last offseason to replace Martellus Bennett, who signed with the Green Bay Packers. Allen was attacked six times in the first eight games of the Patriots, without catches, which led New England to re-sign Bennett after Green Bay resigned in October.

Allen has shown an improvement over the last four games, with five receptions for 40 yards and a touchdown.

"He is ready and always ready and always works hard at his job, he tries to do it well," said coach Bill Belichick. "We all make mistakes, we all correct them and try to do better next time, he has accepted it."

Gronkowski has eight touchdowns in 11 games against Miami. But coach Adam Gase said the Patriots will be difficult to stop even without him, thanks to Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

"It's always difficult, because Josh will do a good job of using the guys he has and putting in different positions, and really forcing your defense to try to find out where the whole world is," Gase said.

"You see a formation once, and then you will never see it again, you have a chance to try to make a good play, that's why it's really good, that's why they've been very successful, they have good players, but at the same time , put those guys in a very good position. "

That makes good players less indispensable than in other teams. The Patriots are 20-5 without Gronkowski since their rookie season in 2010, including 9-0 since the start of the 2016 season.

DIVISION DOMAIN: If Buffalo loses on Sunday against Indianapolis, the Patriots will get their ninth consecutive title of the AFC East and its division title number 17 since Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994.

If Buffalo wins, the Patriots can make sure defeating Miami. The Patriots already hold the record for most division titles since 1994. Then there's the Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers with 12 apiece.

The Dolphins have already been eliminated from the race for the division title. They have made the playoffs just once since 2008.

FALLER PUNCH TIME: Tom Brady leads the NFL with 3,632 passing yards and needs only 47 yards to get past Warren Moon (3,678 for Seattle in 1997) in the most of yards passing 40-year-old Field Marshal in a single season.

The oldest player to lead the league was Fran Tarkenton with 3,468 yards for Minnesota in 1978 at the age of 38.

MOVING: One of the most vicious moments of the Patriots' win over the Bills last week did not even happen on the field. He reached the bench when Brady and McDaniels had a heated exchange in the first quarter after a 14-play drive gave up just one field goal.

Brady dismissed it as "soccer only", and McDaniels echoed that assessment. [19659002] "It's a very competitive and emotional game, and things like that can happen," he said. "Being in the game for a long time, and understanding that Tommy is a very emotional person and an emotional player, is part of what makes him great, you understand that these things happen, and it's never personal."

OH-FER: Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler is 0-3 against the Patriots with five interceptions, seven sacks and a sad passer rating of 70.5.

lost to them once with Denver and twice with Chicago, and their teams were outscored by 128-37.

Sports writer AP Kyle Hightower in Boston contributed to this report.

More AP NFL: http://pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http: // twitter .com / Steve-Wine.


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