The Miami Dolphins head north to play the new England Patriots in a must win game if they hope to make the playoffs.
This thread is so we can discuss this game and provide insight and information to help everyone Bang the Book. It is just another reason why this is the best interactive sports betting forum on the net!
Every day I will post daily information that I find on this game. Feel free to post anything relevant to this game to include news, stats, injuries and your opinion on this game. The goal is to share information and pick winners all season long!
A few thoughts on the Miami Dolphins’ 28-13 loss Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.
What it means: The Dolphins lost a crucial game to the Ravens to fall to 7-6. Miami lost its hold on the final wild-card spot in the AFC and also a head-to-head tiebreaker to Baltimore (8-5). The Dolphins took a 10-0 lead early and were outscored 28-3 the rest of the game. They are not mathematically out of the playoff race, but chances do not look good at this point. They must run the table in the final three weeks to get to 10 wins and hope for help from other teams.
Stock watch: The Dolphins’ offensive line stock is plummeting after failing to protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Baltimore sacked Tannehill six times and dominated the line of scrimmage. Second-year right tackle Dallas Thomas struggled, giving up one sack to Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and two sacks to Elvis Dumervil. Miami’s line has been up and down since losing Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert.
Secondary gets thinner: The Dolphinsâ€™ secondary continues to suffer significant injuries. Starting safety Louis Delmas suffered a knee injury in the fourth quarter and was carted off the field. The outlook doesn’t look good for Delmas’ return with three games remaining. Miami also lost cornerbacks Will Davis, Jamar Taylor and Cortland Finnegan.
Game balls: Starting safety Reshad Jones had a game-high 10 tackles. Jones had arguably the biggest hit of the game, on Ravens tailback Justin Forsett in the first half.
What’s next: The tough games continue for the Dolphins, who will travel to play the AFC East-leading New England Patriots next week at Gillette Stadium. Miami beat New England in Week 1. The game also marks the Dolphins’ final road game of the season.
A few thoughts on the New England Patriots’ 23-14 win over the San Diego Chargers:
What it means: In a terrific environment for football, with Patriots fans coming out in full force in San Diego, the Patriots gutted this one out to improve to 10-3 and keep the top overall spot in the AFC. If they win their remaining three games — home against Miami, on the road against the Jets, and home against the Bills — they will be the AFC’s No. 1 seed and have home-field advantage in the playoffs. This game had a playoff-type feel to it.
A night to highlight defense and special teams: When the offense sputtered twice in the red zone in the first half — receiver Brandon LaFell lost a second-quarter fumble that was returned 53 yards for a touchdown, quarterback Tom Brady threw an uncharacteristic red zone interception right before halftime, and the offense opened the second half with four straight three-and-outs — the defense and special teams had to hold the Chargers in check until some answers could be found. The Patriots’ defense and special teams did their part and showed the team can win even when Brady and the offense are off their game. That was the story of this game for New England.
Blocked punt by Bolden a biggie: Running back Brandon Bolden, a valuable member of the team based on his contributions on all four core special-teams units, delivered one of the big plays in the game with a second-quarter blocked punt that was quickly turned into a touchdown. Some in New England had been calling for Bolden’s roster spot at the time LeGarrette Blount was signed, but that overlooks his contributions on special teams.
Game ball: Jamie Collins. The linebacker took over leadership duties on defense with injured linebacker Dont’a Hightower (right shoulder) unable to play, and he had two sacks in the first half and was all over the field. The team’s top draft pick from 2013 — the 52nd overall selection — delivered in a big moment.
Penalty in third quarter took away seven points: One play that is sure to be talked about is the Patriots’ interception return for a touchdown that was nullified by a penalty for a helmet-to-helmet hit by cornerback Brandon Browner. Replays showed there was no helmet-to-helmet contact — just a crunching blow, as Browner led with his shoulder into the chest of tight end Ladarius Green. That was a tough break for the Patriots. Should the NFL make those calls subject to review?
Stat of note, Part I: Since 2003, the Patriots are 37-4 in games following a loss.
Stat of note, Part II: The Patriots clinch their 12th straight 10-win season. Only the 49ers, at 16 straight seasons with 10 or more wins, have a longer streak since the merger (1970).
Injuries to monitor: No players left the game with injury.
What’s next: After traveling to Green Bay Nov. 29, playing a game there the next day, arriving in San Diego early on Dec. 1 and spending the week there, the Patriots return home. They host the Dolphins at 1 p.m. ET on Dec. 14. The Dolphins dropped to 7-6 with a home loss to the Ravens on Sunday.
The New England Patriots are 11-2 SU in their last 13 home games against the Miami Dolphins. New England hopes to continue its dominance over its division rival when it hosts the Dolphins this Sunday.
To make matters worse for the Dolphins, the Patriots are 25-5 SU in their last 30 home games against division rivals and 26-2 SU in their last 28 December home games. The UNDER is 7-1 in Miami’s last eight games overall and 8-0 in Miami’s last eight road games against division rivals.
The New England Patriots are 10-3 so far on the season, and 8-5 ATS vs the point spread. The Miami Dolphins, meanwhile, are 7-6 and 7-6 ATS. Those over under betting have seen New England go 8-5 and the Miami Dolphins go 5-8 on the totals.
– How Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots Stats Matchup
Offensively, the game matches up the New England Patriots No. 3-ranked offense (30.85 PPG) against a Miami Dolphins defense that ranks No. 7 at 20 PPG. The Patriots passing attack has averaged 272.62 yards per game, more than the Dolphins give up through the air (203.23 YPG on average).
In comparing defenses, the Miami Dolphins own the league’s No. 28-rated front 7 in terms of stopping the run, allowing 133.57 yards per game when on the road. New England, on the other hand, rates No. 19 this week in generating rushing yards at home.
– Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots Betting Odds Trends
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Miami’s last 8 games
Miami is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
Miami is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Miami’s last 5 games on the road
New England is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
New England is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games
The total has gone OVER in 7 of New England’s last 10 games
New England is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games at home
The New England Patriots are one win away from another division title, while the Miami Dolphins are potentially one loss away from missing out on the playoffs yet again.
New England seeks its sixth straight AFC East crown and 12th in 14 seasons when it hosts the desperate Dolphins on Sunday.
The Patriots (10-3) held San Diego to 216 yards in a 23-14 victory last week, bouncing back from the previous week’s 26-21 defeat at Green Bay in which they gave up a season-worst 478 yards. Their 12 straight 10-win seasons are the second most in NFL history behind San Francisco’s 16 in a row from 1983-98.
New England can lock up the division with a win and would clinch a first-round bye with help from other teams. It can still secure a playoff spot if it loses, though that scenario involves losses or ties by at least four other teams.
The Patriots hold the advantage over Denver for home-field advantage by virtue of their 43-21 win against the Broncos on Nov. 2. They appear to have an easier schedule with next week’s visit to the woeful New York Jets, against whom they have won seven of eight, and then a matchup with Buffalo at home, where they’ve taken 13 straight in that series.
Denver visits San Diego this week, Cincinnati the next and finishes at home against Oakland.
Coach Bill Belichick said the Patriots would probably discuss that material “in about 15 seconds” before moving on to Miami, which knocked off the Patriots in their opener.
“We need to talk about how to play offense, defense and special teams against the Dolphins a lot better than we did the last time we played them, which wouldn’t take much,” Belichick said. “That’s what we’ll be talking about this week: what to do and how to do it.”
New England’s 33-20 loss Sept. 7 gave the Dolphins two straight wins in this series for the first time since a five-game run Oct. 17, 1999-Oct. 7, 2001.
Tom Brady was 29 of 56 for 249 yards and lost two fumbles in the first meeting, but he’s been at his best at home this year, throwing for 17 touchdowns and two interceptions while averaging 303.8 yards.
The Patriots, winners of eight of nine, are 52-9 in December under Belichick – nine more victories than any other team – and have won 11 of 13 at home against Miami. They’re an NFL-best 59-6 at home in regular-season games since Nov. 26, 2006, and have gone 6-0 there this year with an average victory margin of 18.4.
The Dolphins (7-6) are seeking their first playoff berth since 2008 but have dropped three of five after Sunday’s 28-13 loss to Baltimore. Even if they win out – like Ravens coach John Harbaugh predicted they would – they could be on the outside looking in with 10 other AFC teams at 7-6 or better, excluding New England.
“I have a lot of faith and confidence in these guys,” coach Joe Philbin said. “We’ve got a huge challenge this week going up to New England. I told them in the locker room, we’re going to find out a lot this week.”
Miami has surrendered 407.7 yards per game in its last three after holding its first 10 opponents to 302.5. The Dolphins have been particularly vulnerable against the run, giving up 661 yards in the past three – the most they’ve ever allowed in a stretch of that length.
Defensive tackle Jared Odrick was seen shouting at Philbin on the sidelines in the final minutes of Sunday’s loss, in which Miami gave up 447 yards. Odrick and coaches insisted no rift exists between the players and staff.
“Any time you don’t play up to the standards we like to uphold, yeah, you’re upset,” Odrick said. “Everybody is upset.”
Safety Louis Delmas’ season ended Sunday when he suffered a right knee injury, though Miami will be bolstered by the return of Cortland Finnegan. The cornerback said he will play Sunday after missing four games with an ankle injury.
Miami had a season-high 191 rushing yards in the first meeting, though its running game has all but disappeared. The Dolphins have averaged 81.8 yards on the ground in their last five games after rushing for 137.3 in the first eight.
Julian Edelman, who caught eight passes for a career-high 141 yards against the Chargers, has 19 receptions for 234 yards and a touchdown over his last two meetings with Miami.
*Keys to the game: Itâ€™s hard to put much stock in a meeting that took place 14 weeks ago, but the Dolphins are certainly trying to harken back to the success they had in beating the Patriots 33-20 at home to open the season.
Miami had great success with 191 rushing yards in the first meeting. That type of production isnâ€™t realistic with Lamar Miller shouldering the brunt of the load minus Knowshon Moreno, but QB Ryan Tannehill is completing 66.7 percent of his passes and has an emerging trusted weapon in rookie WR Jarvis Landry. The Dolphins must be able to control the ball and cash in drives in a game in which everything must fall in their direction.
The Patriotsâ€™ offense is a different beast than the one the Dolphins shut out in the second half in Week 1. TE Rob Gronkowski is healthy and causing matchup nightmares, the offensive line has gelled and QB Tom Brady has a comfort zone with his receiving corps. But expect to see plenty from the Patriotsâ€™ stable of running backs early on. The Dolphins have excellent edge rushers, but have been gashed for 661 rushing yards over the past three games due to a combination of poor gap integrity and very poor tackling.
*Matchup to watch â€“ Dolphins FS Jimmy Wilson vs. Brady: With Louis Delmas going on IR, Wilson is the likely candidate to move into his starting spot. The domino effect would then mean a new face at nickel corner. Another option is stating rookie Walt Aikens in Delmasâ€™ spot. With CBs Cortland Finnegan (ankle) and Jamar Taylor (shoulder) also racing to return from injury, Brady could be licking his chops against a severely undermanned secondary.
*Player spotlight â€“ Dolphins RT Jason Fox: Fox could get the start after Dallas Thomas was credited for being beaten for 3.5 sacks last week.
*Fast facts: Tannehill has thrown for 490 yards with five touchdowns and a 101.7 passer rating in winning his past two starts against New England. â€¦ The Patriots clinch the AFC East title with a victory.
It looks like the Dolphins will be short on linebackers with Jonathan Freeny (hamstring), Jelani Jenkins (foot) and Koa Misi (hamstring, knee) all listed as doubtful. Tight end Charles Clay (hamstring, knee), cornerback Cortland Finnegan (ankle), linebacker Chris McCain (ankle) and cornerback Jamar Taylor (shoulder) are all questionable. The Patriots ruled out defensive end Dominique Easley (knee) amid talk that he might be headed for injured reserve. Guard Dan Connolly (ankle), wide receiver Julian Edelman (thigh), tackle Cameron Fleming (ankle), linebacker Dontâ€™a Hightower (shoulder), defensive end Chandler Jones (hip), wide receiver Brandon LaFell (shoulder), defensive end Rob Ninkovich (heel), running back Shane Vereen (ankle) and linebacker Chris White (ankle) make up a long list of questionable players.