Week 4 NFL Picks: New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots
(2-1, 1-2 ATS)

Miami Dolphins
(2-1, 2-1 ATS)

AFC East rivals will duke it out in one of the most critical Monday Night Football betting encounters of the season, as the New England Patriots will travel to face the Miami Dolphins.

For the Pats, defense is going to be the key to this game. Surprisingly, HC Bill Belichick has one of the worst scoring defenses in the game right now with 27.3 points per game allowed. Giving up 30 last week to the Buffalo Bills at home was probably a very bad sign for the rest of the season for this team. The only good news for Belichick is that QB Tom Brady and the gang are still playing like a bunch of MVPs on offense. Brady’s numbers are fantastic this year and will probably put him in the MVP discussion all season long. He is completing 67.3 percent of his passes for 758 yards with eight scores and three picks, and in spite of the fact that he doesn’t have much of a running game to speak of, he is taking advantage of all of his receiving options. Surprisingly, the top receiver on this team right now is TE Aaron Hernandez, who was the second rookie tight end that the Pats took in this past NFL Draft. Hernandez has 211 yards on 13 catches this year. WR Wes Welker has 18 grabs for 147 yards and three TDs, while the great WR Randy Moss has nine receptions for 139 yards and three touchdowns.

This could be a make or break week for Miami this year. The Fins can’t afford to lose their two most difficult divisional home games in back to back weeks and think that they are winning the division or making the playoffs in the AFC. The offense has been suspect at best for HC Tony Sparano this year, as Miami only has one game in which it scored more than 15 points all year. The defense was certainly fantastic over the first two games against the Buffalo Bills and the Minnesota Vikings, but it came up very short last week against the New York Jets in a 31-23 defeat at home. As always, when you’re talking about Dolphins football, you have to talk about the rushing attack. RB Ronnie Brown and RB Ricky Williams have combined for 319 yards in just three games this year, but something might be wrong with Williams. The former Texas Longhorns standout only has a long carry on the season of eight yards on 35 attempts and he has yet to score a TD. WR Brandon Marshall is doing everything that he was advertised to do at the start of the year. His 22 catches and 290 yards leads the team in receiving, while he has found pay dirt once.

Two years ago, Miami debuted that crazy Wildcat offense against the Patriots and destroyed them 38-13 in Gillette Stadium, and since that point, the teams are split 2-2 SU and ATS. However, Miami has gone 3-1 ATS in those three games, and that’s a trend that we cannot ignore. There’s no way that we can figure on the Fins losing both of these critical home games, so we’ll back the hosts for our Monday Night Football free picks.

Selection: Miami Dolphins +1

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