Coach Bill Belichick is a master of making sure the New England Patriots brush aside outside distractions, but that single-mindedness could be put to the test this week. Questions abound over whether All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown, acquired before last week's season opener, will be in the lineup Sunday when the reigning Super Bowl champions visit the Miami Dolphins.
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Brown's abrupt release by Oakland and subsequent signing with the Patriots was a shocking development, but the plot thickened this week when a woman filed a lawsuit charging him with rape and sexual assault. "It's not a distraction," New England cornerback Stephon Gilmore said. "That's one thing about this team -- we focus on our next opponent, and that's Miami. We don't let outside stuff distract us." While the Patriots dismantled Pittsburgh 33-3 in their opener, Miami was embarrassed in a 59-10 mauling at Baltimore in the head coaching debut of former New England assistant Brian Flores. The Dolphins, however, have won two of the past three meetings against the Patriots and are 10-7 against future Hall of Famer Tom Brady in Miami.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Patriots -18.5. O/U: 48.5
ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (1-0): Brown, who forced an offseason trade from Pittsburgh to Oakland after six straight seasons with at least 101 catches, was ineligible to play in last week's opener but Brady looked fine with the cast at hand, throwing for 341 yards and three touchdowns passes. Starting running back Sony Michel, who rushed for 169 yards in two meetings versus Miami last season, managed only 14 on 15 carries last week, but backups Rex Burkhead and James White combined for 70 yards rushing while adding five receptions apiece. Julian Edelman had six catches for 83 yards and Phillip Dorsett hauled in a pair of scoring passes, while the defense limited the Steelers to 32 yards rushing.
ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (0-1): In the wake of the last week's humbling loss, in which Miami set franchise records for points and total yards (643) allowed, media reports swirled that multiple players spoke to their agents and expressed a desire to be traded. "It's never good to be embarrassed like that, especially at this level," said veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who finished 14 of 29 for 185 yards with a touchdown and interception in his Dolphins debut. "What we talked about: Nobody is going to feel sorry for you and your situation." Miami will try to establish its ground game behind Kenyan Drake, who ran the final 52 yards on a lateral in last season's stunning win over the Patriots.
1. Brady can tie George Blanda (209) for the second-most regular-season wins in NFL history, behind only Adam Vinatieri (215).
2. Dolphins CB Xavien Howard picked off Brady twice in the last meeting.
3. Edelman has 24 receptions and two TDs in his last three versus Miami.
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