MIAMI DOLPHINS (5-9)
at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (11-3)
Kickoff: Saturday, 1:00 p.m. EDT
Line: New England -10.5, Total: 48.5
The Patriots look to continue their six-game win streak when they invite division foe Miami to town on Saturday. The Dolphins have won five of their past seven games.
Miami proved it can play in the cold by winning in snowy Buffalo last week, and the Dolphins visit Foxboro this week, where they’ve managed to cover in two of their past three December/January visits. The Miami offense has been much improved with QB Matt Moore under center, averaging 25.6 PPG over its past seven games, and the Dolphins should be able to move the ball on a weak Patriots defense. Stopping New England will be another story, as Miami doesn’t have the bodies in the secondary to match up. The Pats rolled up 622 yards of offense, and QB Tom Brady threw for 517 and 4 TD in their Week 1 matchup, a 38-24 Pats win. But Dallas is the only other team to throw for 250 yards against Miami all season, and the Dolphins are 7-1 ATS in their past eight games, holding opponents to just 71 rushing YPG on just 3.2 YPC. The play here is MIAMI to keep the final score within single digits.
This pair of FoxSheets trends also support the Dolphins:
Play On - Underdogs or pick (MIAMI) - in a game involving two average teams (+/- 0.4 YPP) after 8+ games, after allowing 400 or more total yards in their previous game. (95-56 since 1983.) (62.9%, +33.4 units. Rating = 2*).
Play Against - Any team (NEW ENGLAND) - after a win by 10 or more points against opponent after a playing a game where 50 total points or more were scored. (122-72 over the last 5 seasons.) (62.9%, +42.8 units. Rating = 2*).
The Patriots have played four straight games Over the total, and this rare five-star FoxSheets trend also expects the OVER to occur on Saturday:
Play Over - Any team against the total (NEW ENGLAND) - after covering the spread in 4 or 5 out of their last 6 games against opponent after covering the spread in 5 or 6 out of their last 7 games. (72-19 over the last 5 seasons.) (79.1%, +51.1 units. Rating = 5*).
New England is scoring 35.8 PPG during its six-game win streak, posting 31+ points in each game, which includes hanging 41 points in Denver on Sunday. Brady has been on fire, riding a current streak of nine straight games with multiple TD passes. And he has usually enjoyed facing Miami in his career, going 13-6 with 4,000 passing yards, 35 TD and 17 INT against the Dolphins. WR Wes Welker, who leads the NFL with 1,380 receiving yards, has been a big reason why Brady has been so successful against the Dolphins. In eight career meetings against his former team, Welker has 63 catches for 843 yards, which includes his 99-yard TD reception in Week 1. The Patriots have several injuries on both sides of the ball. On offense, WR Deion Branch (groin), RB Shane Vereen (hamstring), G Dan Connolly (groin) and OT Sebastian Vollmer (back) are all listed as questionable. On defense, DE Andre Carter, LB Brandon Spikes and S Patrick Chung are all questionable because of knee injuries.
Interim head coach Todd Bowles had to be pleased with his team’s effort in his first game since taking over for Tony Sparano. The Dolphins rushed for 254 yards and threw for 194 more despite going just 3-of-13 on third down conversions. Reggie Bush had a huge afternoon with 203 yards on 25 carries (8.1 YPC), including a 76-yard TD run to ice the game in the fourth quarter. Bush has strung together three straight 100-yard games, a huge improvement from his 38 yards on 11 carries against New England in Week 1. QB Matt Moore has also been playing great football lately, despite suffering a concussion two weeks ago. In the past five games, Moore has thrown for 8 TD and just 1 INT. And considering the Patriots allow the most passing yards in the NFL (297 YPG), it’s a good bet that Moore will be throwing all over Gillette Stadium on Christmas Eve.