Dolphins know they need to improve in AFC East play

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — To become a playoff contender, the Miami Dolphins know they need to fare better within their division.

Their first chance at that this season comes Sunday at New England, a place where Miami hasn’t won in eight years. And if that trend holds on Sunday, the Dolphins will already be two games back in the AFC East.

“You have to play well for 60 minutes,” Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “I think that’s the biggest key for us and probably the part where we’ve failed in the past. We’ve had good halves there, but just haven’t put a full game together up there.”

The Dolphins were 1-5 in division games last season. Only San Diego had a worse division record.

The Dolphins haven’t finished a division schedule with a better-than-.500 record since 2009, and have lost 23 of their past 36 games against AFC East opponents.

The last time Miami won at New England was 2008 — when Tom Brady wasn’t playing. Brady will be missing again on Sunday, serving the second game of his four-game suspension and leaving the Patriots offense again in the hands of Jimmy Garoppolo, who won his opener at Arizona.

“He doesn’t want to go out there and make any mistakes and he went out there and accomplished that, in my opinion,” Dolphins defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh said.

“I think that’s one of the reasons why they came out with a win. At the end of the day, we have to make sure we go in there and get him rattled.”

Playing before a raucous crowd in Seattle didn’t seem to bother the Dolphins, who were leading late before losing 12-10.

If nothing else, Seattle may have provided a taste of what Miami will face at Foxborough on Sunday.

“They’re both tough places to play and when you go up there you better bring your `A’ game,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said.

“I don’t think there are a lot of losses over the last six years in Seattle and in New England over the last 15 or 16 years. The one way that you can put yourself in a good position is you have to execute what your game plan is and you can’t get caught up in what’s going on outside of the field.”

NOTES: A day after placing DT Earl Mitchell (calf) on injured reserve and signing LB Donald Butler, the Dolphins re-signed DT Chris Jones and waived rookie

QB Brandon Doughty. … RB Arian Foster didn’t practice Wednesday and that may become a weekly occurrence, part of his maintenance after recovering from a torn Achilles. “I don’t think he really is a guy that needs contact more than what he’s going to get on Sunday,” Gase said. … In addition to Foster, C Mike Pouncey (hip), DE Mario Williams (concussion), DT Jordan Phillips (ankle) and LB Jelani Jenkins (knee) did not practice.

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