New England Patriots

As if things weren’t challenging enough against Patriots offense that hung a 38-spot on them in their first meeting of the season back in Week 4, the Miami Dolphins were dealt another blow on Friday, as it was confirmed that they will be without top cornerback Xavien Howard this Sunday due to an apparent knee ailment.

It’s a big loss, all things considered, as Howard is obviously Miami’s best corner, and picked off Tom Brady twice in last year’s head-to-head in Miami. Overall, the 25-year-old has 25 tackles and a league-leading seven interceptions on the year.

Given Miami’s rather desperate status as a 6-6 ‘in the hunt’ team, it’s somewhat surprising to see the Dolphins not at least giving Howard a go on Sunday morning. But according to them, it’s simply not a good idea against the Pats’ options.

“We just haven’t gotten him out there moving around,” Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said. “He’s got to feel good with all of his movement skills – lateral – his ability to protect himself. You’ve got guys trying to cut him and things like that and you can’t do that. We’ll give it another run next week and see where we’re at and we’ll go from there.”

The Dolphins may also be without wideout and ex-Patriot Danny Amendola, a limited participant in practice all week, due to a knee injury. Amendola has 48 grabs in 11 games this year, totaling 469 yards and one touchdown.