Patriots-Dolphins matchup of the day: Thursday

Posted Sept. 30, 2010 @ 5:56 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

Here's a key matchup to watch heading into Monday night's game between the Patriots and Dolphins:

Patriots TEs Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez vs. Dolphins defense

The play so far from the Pats' rookie tight ends has been widely publicized because of their instant success. Gronkowski already has two TD catches as he has become a target for Tom Brady in the red zone. Hernandez leads the team with 211 yards receiving and has enough versatility to look like a wide receiver in the open field. The Dolphins have struggled covering tight ends this season, giving up 86 yards receiving to Vikings TE Visanthe Shiancoe and 98 yards and 2 TDs to Jets TE Dustin Keller.

While Brady has plenty of weapons with his four wide receivers (Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Brandon Tate and Julian Edelman), he has targeted his new tight ends often and may continue to do that, considering the Dolphins' lack of success against tight ends. Dolphins ILB Karlos Dansby, CB Sean Smith and SS Yeremiah Bell are the guys likely to cover Gronkowski and Hernandez. The Patriots will look to exploit those matchups.