09/15/2013 10:43 AM
Yes, the Indianapolis Colts are 1-0, but having to fight back to beat the Oakland Raiders in Week 1 wasn’t exactly what many expected from an 11-point favorite. Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins are coming off a win and cover at Cleveland. Even though it’s just mid-September, don’t underestimate the importance of this matchup (1 p.m. ET, CBS). The winner will have two AFC wins in the first two games, and conference record is a playoff tiebreaker.
Line: Colts -2.5, Total: 43
Line movement: Indy opened -3 at most shops, but bettors have been taking the points, and the line was down to 2.5 or even 2 at some shops on Friday. The total's been bet up from 42.5.
History and trends: The Colts have won the last four meetings between these two clubs, and have covered in three of those games. Indianapolis (+2.5) scored a 23-20 win vs. Miami at Lucas Oil Stadium last season. The Colts already have as many ATS losses at home in 2013 (one) as they had in the entire 2012 home campaign.
Dolphins outlook: The Dolphins’ defense starred in Week One, sacking Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden six times and intercepting him on three occasions. Overall, Cleveland was limited to 291 yards on 72 plays and did not score in the second half.
The Dolphins’ offense hit its best stride after halftime at Cleveland, putting together a pair of TD drives. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (24-of-38 passing, 272 yards, two TDs, one interception) and his receivers carried the day with backs Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller combining for just17 rushing yards on 18 carries. Wide receiver Mike Wallace also had a quiet game, catching just one pass.
In the end, the Dolphins’ tough defense and persistent offense (8-of-16 third downs converted) got the job done — and there is probably room for collective improvement for Joe Philbin’s club going forward.
Colts’ outlook: The passing and running of Andrew Luck saved the Colts in their 21-17 season-opening win vs. Oakland. Luck threw a pair of touchdowns and rushed for the game-winning 19-yard touchdown with 5:20 left. Like last year, Luck’s main target was wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who hauled in all eight passes for 96 yards and a score against the Raiders. The Colts also racked up 127 rushing yards on 26 carries (4.9 ypc).
However, the Colts’ defense enters Week 2 with some areas in which to improve. The Raiders gained 372 yards of offense, with quarterback Terrelle Pryor throwing for 217 yards and rushing for 112 more. Five of Oakland’s eight drives lasted 10 plays or more. The Colts did end a pair of those drives with interceptions, including one to seal the game in the final minutes. Also, Indianapolis did hold Oakland tailback Darren McFadden to 48 yards on 17 carries.
Nevertheless, the Colts were pushed by the Raiders. What this means may not be known until we see how Chuck Pagano’s club fares against Miami, which is a better club than Oakland. The matchup between the Colts’ running game and the Dolphins’ run defense could be especially interesting after Miami limited Cleveland’s Trent Richardson to 47 yards on 13 attempts a week ago.
Key injuries: Colts tight end Dwayne Allen (hip) missed practice on Wednesday. He could be the biggest injury concern for Indianapolis entering Week 2 The Dolphins have some nagging injuries but none that look too serious. Cornerback Dimitri Patterson (groin) and safety Reshad Jones (thumb) were limited practice participants on Wednesday.
Weather: 67 degrees and partly cloudy with 47 percent humidity. Check out wunderground.com for an updated forecast.
The Linemakers’ lean: There are plenty of of handicappers who think Indy is overrated -- our partner Rufus Peabody is among them -- but the line shift from last season, when the Colts were a home dog against the Dolphins, indicates some value on the favorite. If we can get this game at less than a field goal, we're interested. Also, these teams combined for 21 UNDERs last season, so we'll take a shot with that trend as well.