Miami (3-3) at New England (6-0), 8:25 p.m. on CBS and NFL Network. Week 8 begins on Thursday night with undefeated New England hosting Miami at Gillette Stadium.

The defending Super Bowl champs enter Week 8 following a 30-23 victory over the New York Jets at Foxboro last Sunday. New England led GangGreen 13-10 at the half and then held them off in the second half to preserve the win, even though they were outrushed by their guests 89-16 in the AFC East affair. Both New England and New York did well on third down tries (the Pats were 8 of 16 and 1 of 1 on fourth down; GangGreen was 8 of 14) and the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! ruled the clock, holding the ball for 33:03 to New England’s 26:57.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady completed 34 of 54 passes for 355 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 94.3 passer rating in the win. Brady (55,312) surpassed 55,000 career passing yards and is only the fifth quarterback in NFL history to reach the mark, joining Brett Farve, Peyton Manning, Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino and Drew Brees.

The performance marked the 17th time in his career that Brady had at least 350 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, the most such games in NFL history.

“We are happy to come out victorious but now the Jets are over with and it’s onto Miami,” says New England defensive end Rob Ninkovich. “Another division game is definitely a tough game for us, and Miami always plays us tough. I just think we have to turn the page quickly.”

Since 2002, Brady has compiled an 8-0 record on Thursdays, including a 3-0 mark against the AFC East opponents. His 2,249 passing yards on Thursdays rank third in the AFC and his 20 touchdown passes on rank second in the conference during that span. Brady has also passed for at least two touchdowns in six of his eight Thursday starts.

The Thursday passing leaders in the AFC since 2002 (minimum 100 attempts):

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (PASSING YARDS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (3,646)
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh (3,081)
Tom Brady – New England (2,249)

PLAYER – TEAM (TD PASSES)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (39)
Tom Brady – New England (20)
Philip Rivers – San Diego (15)

PLAYER – TEAM (INTERCEPTION %)
Tom Brady – New England (0.7)
Kerry Collins – New York Giants, Oakland and Tennessee (0.8)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (1.4)

PLAYER – TEAM (PASSER RATING)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis, Denver (121.0)
Tom Brady – New England (112.0)
Philip Rivers – San Diego (107.8)

Miami enters Week 8 seeking their third consecutive victory following a 44-26 victory over Houston.

Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill completed 18 of 19 passes for 282 yards with four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 158.3 passer rating – the highest attainable mark – in the win. Tannehill completed his first 18 passes of the game and combined with his seven completions in a row to end the Dolphins’ Week 6 game at Tennessee, set an NFL record with 25 consecutive completions (Donvan McNabb, 24 in 2004). In their win over the Texans, Miami held Houston to 71 yards rushing, while tallying 284, with RB Lamar Miller accounting for 175 of those yards with a TD. Even with the lopsided win, Miami struggled on third down conversions in the Sunshine State, going 1 of 9 and kept the ball for 32:05, while Houston kept the pigskin for 27:55 and went 6 of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth.

“It was wild,” says Tannehill about the team’s performance. “I’ve never been a part of a game like that. The defense was getting us the ball back quick so we had the momentum and we were able to keep the momentum.”

Also in the win, Dolphins running back Lamar Miller had a 54-yard touchdown reception and an 85-yard TD run – both in the second quarter. Miller joins Chris Johnson (September 20, 2009) as the only players in NFL history with an 85+ yard  touchdown run and 50+ yard TD catch in a single game. Miller is the only player to accomplish the feat in a single quarter.

“This Thursday is our third divisional game and to have a pretty good chance to jockey for your position in the division, we really need this win,” Dolphins head coach Dan Campbell told the Miami Herald.
“They are not going to be easy, they never are. The physical will show up on Thursday night. It’s got to be about what’s between the ears. We have to be smart. We have to be on cue with how we’re going to attack this team.”

Heading into Thursday’s matchup, Tannehill has won two of his past three starts against New England. Tannehill also has a 2-1 record in three career games on Thursdays. In Tannehill’s last start on Thursday Night Football (11/13/14 vs. Buffalo), he completed 26 of 34 passes for 240 yards with two touchdowns for 114.8 rating.

Miami leads the series (which includes games that were played at the Orange Bowl and Fenway Park) 51-45 and they have outscored the defending Super Bowl champs 2,089-2,030. The Pats and ‘Fins split last year’s contests with each team taking wins at home.

They met right off the bat in week one in the Sunshine State and the Dolphins held New England in check, taking Brady and the Pats for a 33-20 win at Sun Life Stadium. Trailing 20-10 after the first 30 minutes of play, Miami scored their final 23 second half points unchallenged to take the 13-point win. Miami’s Knowshown Moreno ran for 134 yards and a TD, while the Dolphins ran for 191 and held New England to 89 and sacked Brady four times. Miami on third down tries went 7 of 13 and kept the ball for 30:27, while the Pats were 5 of 17 on third down (2 of 4 on fourth down) ahd held the ball for 29:33.

While the weather in week one’s contest was comfortable (kickoff temperature at kickoff? A balmy 89 degrees), such was not the case in week 15 in Foxboro, where it was a chilly 43 degrees with a 38 wind chill and the Pats would get their revenge on the ‘Fins in that meeting, winning 41-13. New England led 14-13 at the half before taking matters into their own hands and flattening Miami by scoring their final 27 points of the contest without so much as a whimper. This time, the Pats outrushed Miami 108-76 and Brady threw a pair of TDs, while Tannehill was sacked four times and picked off twice. New England did a much better job on third down in front of the home crowd at Gillette Stadium, going 8 of 13 and kept the ball for 26:14, while Miami actually had time on their side, holding on to the ball for 33:46 but struggled on third down, going 3 of 16 but went 3 of 5 on fourth down.

New England in the season opener were favored by 5 and the Dolphins’ 13-point win allowed them to cover that spread and both teams covered the 47 1/2 over/under by combining for 53 points. New England was again the favorite, this time by 7 1/2 in the week 15 matchup in Foxboro and the Pats covered the spread, winning by 28 and the two teams scored 54 points, which allowed them to erase the 48 1/2 over/under.

The Pats are favored by 8 in Foxboro on Thursday night and the over/under’s 51 1/2. It might be closer than the 8 but the Pats keep rolling and remain unbeaten with the win at home.

Injury Report

Miami
QUESTIONABLE: CB Brice McCain (Knee)
PROBABLE: LB Christian McCain (Not Injury Related), LB Spencer Paysinger (Groin), DT Jordan Phillips (Ankle), C James Pouncey (Hip), CB Zackary Bowman (Shoulder), CB Brent Grimes (Knee), QB Matt Moore (Nose)

New England
OUT: T Marcus Cannon (Toe), LB Rufus Johnson (Illness), DE Jabaal Sheard (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Brandon Bolden (Hamstring), RB Dion Lewis (Abdomen), WR Kershawn Martin (Hamstring), G Shaquille Mason (Knee)
PROBABLE: DE Trey Flowers (Knee), LB Qualin Hightower (Ribs), G Joshua Kline (Shoulder)

Weather Report: Partly cloudy and 59 degrees.

BROADCAST INFORMATION: 8:25 p.m. Eastern on CBS and NFL Network: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson (field reporter). Westwood One: Ian Eagles, Boomer Esiason. SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 83 (Miami), 93 (New England). XM: 225 (Miami), 226 (New England).

Broadcast information and injury report courtesy the National Football League and CBS Sports, odds courtesy Don Best and USA Today, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel.

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