The New England Patriots enter the final week of the regular season with a 13-2 record. However, heading into Week 17 they have not yet clinched the top seed in the AFC. That makes their final game against the Miami Dolphins one that Patriots will want to win. Furthermore, since Miami could improve their own playoff complexion with a win, the Pats at Dolphins may be one of the most hotly contested battles of the NFL's final week of the regular season.

Betting odds favor New England

The games pits two interesting trends against one another. The Dolphins, at 10-5 on the season overall, are 6-1 at home.

Meanwhile the Patriots enter the final week of the season undefeated on the road. One of those two streaks will take a hit and the betting odds for the game strongly suggest that it will be the home team. Marathon Bet sportsbook have the Dolphins way out at +380 to win straight up while 888Sport have New England at -433. The spread is none too favorable to Miami either as they enter the game with a huge +9.5-point handicap with several firms, including Marathon Bet.

What happened when last they met?

The two teams met earlier this season in a game that was played in New England. The result of the game was 31-24 and it occurred early in the season, when Tom Brady was out with his suspension. However, the game was also played at a time in the season when Miami didn't have their best form rolling.

This is a team that turned things on in Week 6. They have gone 9-1 since that time straight-up and undefeated at home.

But one glaring point with Miami's record since the start of Week 6 is a lack of quality victories. The win over Pitt is as strong as it gets with the Dolphins while all other results have come against non-playoff teams.

However, +9.5 points seems like a lot for a team that should still have plenty of confidence in Week 17. Furthermore, their determination to either knock New England to a two seed or improve themselves to a five seed can't be discounted.

Miami and New England meet Sunday at 1pm ET from Miami (see the whole day's schedule).

This one could be closer than presumed with +9.5 helpers looking good on the fins.

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