coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 11/05/2013 05:19 PM in NFL

Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Preview and Pick

Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Preview and Pick

The Monday night football game for week 10 in the National Football League features two bad teams that are struggling on and off the field. The Buccaneers almost upset the Seattle Seahawks, but they were unable to get their first win of the season. The Dolphins might be ripe for the picking in this prime time game after they had to spend all week dealing with off the field issues and accusations of bullying and racism.

Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Odds

The opening NFL point spread for this game with the Dolphins listed as (-3.5) point favorites. The betting public is still backing the Dolphins, despite their recent troubles as over 55 percent of the betting public is still wagering on the Dolphins. The line has moved since betting opened and it can now be found at (-3) at several of the top rated online sportsbooks.

The Buccaneers looked good on offense last week. The Buccaneers gained 172 yards on 31 designed rushes (doesn't include scrambles) in the first three quarters Sunday. Despite the success, and the fact that they maintained a lead until late in the fourth quarter, only four of the Bucs' final 16 plays were rushes by design. Mike Glennon's average pass traveled 8.5 yards downfield in the first half Sunday and was 4 of 5 with two touchdowns when passing more than 10 yards downfield. Glennon's average pass in the second half traveled 4.4 yards downfield with only two attempts more than 10 yards (both incomplete). Now they will have to unleash the defense on the weakened Dolphins offensive line.

The Buccaneers sent at least five pass rushers on half of Russell Wilson's dropbacks in the second half after doing so 36 percent of the time in the first half. That number should increase this week.

The latest football betting trends for this game reveal that the Buccaneers have an outside shot of getting the upset in this game. The Buccaneers are 7-2-2 against the spread (ATS) in their last 11 games after accumulating more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game, 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games in November and the Dolphins are 0-4 ATS in the last four meetings. The Dolphins are 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 games in Week 10, 0-4 ATS in their last 4 Monday games and 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 road games when playing a team with a losing home record.

Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/06/2013 02:09 PM

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be a lot healthier when they host the Miami Dolphins on Monday night.

Coach Greg Schiano said Monday that safety Dashon Goldson (knee) and running back Doug Martin (shoulder), who each have missed the past two games, have a chance to play against the Dolphins. Schiano ruled out guard Carl Nicks (staph infection) for the Miami game.

Schiano said Goldson stands the best chance of playing against the Dolphins. Martin is going to need surgery at some point, but he may wait until after the season if he can get the shoulder to a point where it’s functional and the pain is manageable. That’s the kind of thing you do when you’re in a playoff race.

The Bucs aren’t in a playoff race. If there’s any chance Martin can make the shoulder worse by returning now, the Bucs should shut him down for the rest of the season and let him get ready for 2014.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/06/2013 02:12 PM

Here are three reasons why the Buccaneers might get their first win.....

1 ) Forget for a second about the psychological and emotional wounds the Dolphins will try to heal. What about the actual personnel? Now without two of their starting offensive linemen in Martin and Incognito, the team that leads the NFL by allowing 35 sacks in eight games has gotten worse in the span of a week. Now Miami will have to play right tackle Tyson Clabo -- who, according to Pro Football Focus, has allowed eight sacks, second most in the league, and 20 quarterback hurries -- and probably Nate Garner at left guard. Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and defensive end Adrian Clayborn have to like the sound of that. As long, of course, as they don't help their opponent up from the turf.

2) The Buccaneers offense took it hard to the Seahawks last Sunday: This was one of the biggest on-field surprises of Week 9. Tampa Bay, led by rookie quarterback Mike Glennon (who played the best game of his career) and some savvy running from Mike James (not to mention a sweet jump-pass touchdown), Tampa Bay dominated Seattle in Seattle for the first half. Yeah, it was heartbreaking the way the Buccaneers lost last Sunday, but that kind of offense must give them confidence heading into the Miami game.

3) It seemed as if the Dolphins were poised for a big season when they won the first three games of the year, but their offense has sputtered along, ranking 29th in the league. Tannehill, who ranks No. 31 out of 39 quarterbacks using the Football Outsiders metrics (though Pro Football Focus ranks him No. 10 out of 31), hasn't played badly, but when you compare him to the rest of the rookie starting quarterback class of 2012, he ranks smack in the middle -- behind Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson and, for now, ahead of Robert Griffin III and Brandon Weeden. With the exception of the sacks, he's on pace for a better season than his rookie year, but the offense has a tough time making yards and scoring points. Now, he'll face a Tampa Bay defense that ranks in the middle of the league but has plenty of talent.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/07/2013 01:42 PM

Very little talk surrounding the Miami Dolphins this week has had anything to do with what happens on the field or the strategy for Week 10.

On Monday night against the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Dolphins will try to move past a week full of headlines involving alleged internal harassment between players and a league investigation into the matter.

"Right now we're focused on sticking together as a team, having each others' backs as a team, and getting ready to play a football game," Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "At the end of the day, we're playing a Tampa Bay team on the road on Monday. So we have to deal with this, yes, but we also have to get ready to play a football game."

A second straight win would move the Dolphins (4-4) above .500 and get them back into the forefront of the AFC wild-card discussion.

They've had a streaky first eight games, winning their first three before dropping the next four. A 22-20 overtime win over Cincinnati at home Thursday night ended with a safety when Cameron Wake sacked Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.

"It's almost like a movie moment," said Wake, only the third player in NFL history to end an overtime game with a sack.

Behind Lamar Miller's first career 100-yard rushing day, Miami's ground game has continually gained steam in recent weeks. Miller ran for 105 yards on 16 carries, helping the Dolphins set a season high (157) for the third straight week after they totaled 156 and 120 yards in the previous two games.

"You never want to lose four games in a row," coach Joe Philbin said. "And we had an excellent football team coming in town. It was time for us to step up and we had to make a decision - what are we going to be? And I thought they answered the bell pretty well."

Miami forced four turnovers for the first time this year and Tannehill didn't throw an interception after tossing four in his previous two games. The Dolphins lost one fumble and evened their season turnover ratio heading into the Tampa Bay game.

Tannehill was 20 of 28 for 208 yards, but was sacked three times. He's absorbed three or more in seven of eight games, giving him an NFL-high 35.

Consistent protection has been made even more tricky with starting offensive linemen Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito sidelined. Martin left the team before last week's game due to alleged bullying by Incognito, who was suspended indefinitely this week.

The Bucs (0-8) remain winless after blowing a fourth-quarter lead for the fourth time this season in Sunday's 27-24 loss at Seattle.

"Tough loss, but there's a lot of good things on that tape. ... Things we can build off of," coach Greg Schiano said.

They led 21-0 late in the second quarter, but didn't score after Rian Lindell's 33-yard field goal with 9:48 left in the third gave them a 24-7 lead. The Seahawks scored the final 20 points, including the winning field goal in overtime.

The 24 points were a season-best for Tampa Bay, which ranks second to last in points per game (15.5) and yards per game (304.4).

Rookies Mike Glennon and Mike James offered the team a glimpse of offensive improvement.

Glennon connected on 17 of 23 passes for 168 yards and has thrown five touchdowns with no interceptions in the last three games. His 123.1 rating against the Seahawks ranks third among rookie quarterbacks this year.

James ran for a career-high 158 yards on 28 carries as he continues to fill in for the injured Doug Martin.

"Those are things that are getting us excited and encouraged," Schiano said. "Three games without an interception. That's how we have to play the game. I'm mad at myself for not getting us there sooner."

The Bucs have won three of four against the Dolphins, including the last two meetings in Tampa Bay. The Dolphins haven't won there since Oct. 30, 1988.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/08/2013 02:30 PM

When the 0-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers look like a sea of tranquility in comparison, you know you've have a rough week.

The Miami Dolphins seized the title of "team turmoil" over the past few days just as they are preparing to face the embattled Greg Schiano and his winless Bucs on "Monday Night Football."

In fact, MRSA infections, lunging at the opposition's knees while they're in the victory formation or "Fire Schiano" signs seem quaint compared to the firestorm that erupted in South Florida when Dolphins second-year offensive tackle Jonathan Martin left the team and accused linemate Richie Incognito of bullying him incessantly.

Incognito, who began his career with the St. Louis Rams in 2005 and has been marred by a reputation as a dirty player, is firmly entrenched as the villain in this narrative especially after a voicemail surfaced with him using a racial slur and threatening physical harm to Martin and his family.

The Dolphins indefinitely suspended Incognito, who has a history of erratic behavior dating back to his collegiate days at the University of Nebraska, for conduct detrimental to the team.

Martin, meanwhile, is currently away from the Dolphins after abruptly leaving the club following an incident in the team cafeteria in which several teammates left a table as he was about to sit down in an apparent prank.

"We believe in maintaining a culture of respect for one another and as a result we believe this (suspension of Incognito) is in the best interest of the organization at this time," the Dolphins said in a statement." As we noted earlier, we reached out to the NFL to conduct an objective and thorough review. We will continue to work with the league on this matter."

The league appointed Ted Wells, one of the nation's most prominent attorneys, to direct an independent investigation into issues of workplace conduct around the organization and prepare a report for commissioner Roger Goodell, which will be made public.

"Ted Wells will independently direct the investigation and submit a report to me," commissioner Goodell said. "Mr. Wells will conduct a thorough and objective investigation. He will ensure that we have all the facts so that we can address this matter constructively."

The issue seems cut and dry to most but for those indoctrinated in the NFL's tough-man culture, it's anything but.

Some believe Incognito was asked by the Miami coaching staff to "toughen up" Martin, and many of his teammates, including quarterback Ryan Tannehill, have defended Incognito.

Tannehill called Incognito "a great teammate to me" and said the nine-year veteran guard brought a lot of laughter and cohesiveness to the locker room.

"He's the best teammate you could ask for," the second-year signal caller said.

Tannehill also claimed an accurate description of Incognito and Martin would be that they were like best friends and brothers.

"If you asked Jonathan Martin a week before who his best friend is he would have said Richie Incognito," Tannehill said Wednesday. "I would say Jonathan is like Richie's little brother. I think that's an accurate description. He gave him a hard time, he messed with him, but he was the first guy to have his back."

Martin's camp struck back on Thursday night claiming Martin's toughness is not in question and his treatment went far beyond good-natured hazing or any other comparable hijinks.

"Jonathan Martin's toughness is not at issue," his lawyer David Cornwell said in the statement. "Jonathan has started every game with the Miami Dolphins since he was drafted in 2012. At Stanford, he was the anchor for Jim Harbaugh's 'smash mouth' brand of football and he protected Andrew Luck's blind side.

"The issue is Jonathan's treatment by his teammates. Jonathan endured harassment that went far beyond the traditional locker room hazing. For the entire season-and-a-half that he was with the Dolphins, he attempted to befriend the same teammates who subjected him to the abuse with the hope that doing so would end the harassment. This is a textbook reaction of victims of bullying. Despite these efforts, the taunting continued. Beyond the well- publicized voice mail with its racial epithet, Jonathan endured a malicious physical attack on him by a teammate. These facts are not in dispute.

"Eventually, Jonathan made a difficult choice. Despite his love for football, Jonathan left the Dolphins. Jonathan looks forward to getting back to playing football. In the meantime, he will cooperate fully with the NFL investigation."

The statement also included an alleged vulgar quote from an anonymous teammate directed at Martin's sister.

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said if the NFL decides there was wrongdoing the team "will take all necessary measures to fix it and to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Many have reached for the movie classic "A Few Good Men" when describing the scandal with Jack Nicholson's Col. Jessup playing the role of Philbin or at least the marine-looking offensive line coach Jim Turner and ordering the "Code Red" in an attempt to toughen up the Stanford-soft Martin.

You can almost here Turner defending his behavior to Wells.

"My existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, toughens players. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me pushing these players, you need me pushing there players. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent pursing a championship. You use them as a punchline."

So many people outside of football, where things like a Stanford education are actually something to be quite proud of, just can't comprehend people like Incognito exist but understand he's no stand-alone monster.

Remember the Lions' Dominic Raiola, another Nebraska offensive lineman by the way, verbally attacking the University of Wisconsin marching band before Detroit's game in Green Bay earlier this season?

Or how about former tight end Cam Cleeland's description of "running the gauntlet" while a rookie with New Orleans. The kicks and punches were expected, but one teammate (linebacker Andre Royal) rocked him in the face with a sock full of coins, nearly costing Cleeland his eye.

"Coach (Mike) Ditka gave me a speech as soon as it was done," Cleeland told the Los Angeles Times. "He was like, 'Oh, man, you should have just popped those guys in the mouth.' I said, 'Coach, there were 60 of them.'"

It's not hard to draw a line for most of us.

Young players picking up coffee and doughnuts or dry cleaning is no big deal. Heck, even "King Ugly" contests and getting taped to the goal posts are harmless for the most part.

When that morphs into threats or physical violence, however, it doesn't take an investigator to tell us something is wrong.

So forget about "A Few Good Men," this is Lewis Skolnick fighting back against the Stan Gables and Ogres of the world -- this is "Revenge of the Nerds" or at least revenge of the 6-foot-5, 320-pound highly-educated who don't want to participate in an archaic culture quietly protected and kept away from the rest of civilized society.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/08/2013 02:34 PM

The Bucs remain competitive on a weekly basis thanks to a vastly underrated defense that is solid against the run and pass despite being constantly backed into a corner by their own fledgling offense. The ground game received a spark from rookie Mike James last week, who must do damage against the league’s No. 21 run defense.

The Dolphins’ secondary will give up yards through the air, and Bucs QB Mike Glennon has gone 141 pass attempts without throwing an interception. If Tampa Bay can control the clock and avoid turnovers, it will keep this a tight contest. The Dolphins vow not to be distracted by the Jonathan Martin situation, and on the field they have plenty to build upon. RB Lamar Miller is emerging as a true feature back, helping set the stage for QB Ryan Tannehill to stretch the field. Tampa Bay has difficulty rushing the passer with just its front four so it must contain Miller and get after Tannehill on third-and-long.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/11/2013 11:48 AM

Pick: Tampa Bay +1.5

Good Luck!