Vince Wilfork turned 28 today, another sign that, in his sixth season, he is a tried-and-true veteran. By now, he understands what to expect when the Patriots play the Miami Dolphins.
"I like that they want to hit you in the mouth," Wilfork said. "That's the type of player I am. It's my style of game."
Only the New York Jets run the ball more than the Dolphins, who average 33.8 running plays and rack up 153 yards per game on the ground. The Wildcat is a unique formation, but the reason it -- and the rest of the Dolphins' offensive packages -- work is their personnel.
Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are two of the best backs in the league, and working in tandem they can overwhelm and wear down a defense. Sunday's game may be decided by attrition. They Patriots defense relies on charging ahead and handling blockers. The Dolphins deploy an equally grueling style of offense. With Jake Long at left tackle and new acquisition Jake Long at center, the Dolphins have the nasty offensive line to execute their plan -- repeatedly smashing the defense with Williams and Brown.
"I think either one of those backs could be the back for anybody," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "They have two of them and they use them both a lot. They run the ball as much as anybody in the league and they try to wear you down in the fourth quarter. I think either one of them could probably do it by themselves and they both have. And together it just puts more stress on the defense, whether they’re both in there at once or not."