Patriots-Dolphins matchup of the day: Wednesday

Posted Sept. 07, 2011 @ 5:45 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

Here is a key matchup to watch in the Patriots-Dolphins Week One game on Monday Night Football:

Patriots OTs Matt Light and Sebastian Vollmer vs. Dolphins OLBs Cameron Wake, Koa Misi and Jason Taylor

One of the best ways to slow down the offensive juggernaut that is the Patriots is to put pressure on Tom Brady. It's easier said than done, as the Patriots gave up only 25 sacks last season and Brady went on to win the league MVP award.

The Dolphins have the personnel to wreak havoc, though, starting with Cameron Wake. Wake most often will line up against veteran OLT Matt Light, who sometimes has struggled with speed rushers in the past. Wake had a breakout campaign with 14 sacks in 2010, but he recorded only one in two meetings against New England. Wake is a relentless pass rusher who is quick off the edge, and Light, who was a Pro Bowler last season, will have to work hard to keep Wake out of the backfield.

On the other side, third-year ORT Sebastian Vollmer will face OLBs Koa Misi and Jason Taylor. Misi likely will play on first and second down. As a rookie, Misi showed a spark on pass rush, recording 4½ sacks. On passing downs, Vollmer gets the veteran Taylor, who returned to Miami this offseason. Taylor, 37, had five sacks with the Jets last season, including a strip-sack of Brady in Week Two, when he beat Light off the edge. Vollmer is one of the league's up-and-coming tackles and performed very well in his second season, but he will get tested right away in Week One by a pair of good pass rushers.

The matchups on the outside are important to watch as they are arguably Miami's best way to keep New England off balance. They also feature two veteran Pro Bowlers in Light and Taylor along with rising stars in Wake, Misi and Vollmer.