Miami Dolphins(0-1 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. New England Patriots (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
NFL Week 2
Date/Time: Sunday, September 18, 2016 at 1:00PM EST
Where: Gillette Stadium
TV: CBS, DTV: 708
by Chad Holloway, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIA +6.5/NE -6.5
Over/Under Total: 41.5
Heading into Week 1, two questions lingered over these two teams. For the New England Patriots, it was whether or not they could succeed without Tom Brady under center. For the Miami Dolphins, it was what sort of team would they have with a new head coach, new philosophy, and a lot of player turnover.
The answers were positive for both. The Patriots managed a win against the Arizona Cardinals on the road. It wasn’t a game they were expected to win, but Jimmy Garoppolo, who was making his first NFL start, kept it together and went 24 of 33 for 264 yards and a touchdown. What’s especially impressive is that he spread the ball out six different receivers. If there was a major downside it’s that he fumbled twice, turning it over once.
As for the Dolphins, they lost a close one in the final 32 seconds to the Seattle Seahawks. A loss is always tough to swallow, but the silver lining from this one is that the Dolphins showed they’re capable of hanging with the league’s best. Entering the game, Miami were +10.5 dogs and they only lost by two points. This is from a team “rebuilding” against a Super Bowl contender. Seattle was arguably the toughest team on the Dolphins’ entire schedule, so by giving the Seahawks a run for their money they showed they’re not to be taken lightly.
That said, the Dolphins do need to improve offensively. In Week 1, they missed out on some golden opportunities and left points off board. For instance, a wide open Kenny Stills dropped a sure 71-yard touchdown pass, there was a blocked field goal in the 4th quarter, and the offense failed to convert a fourth-and-inches early on.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill went 16 of 29 for 186 yards through the air and rushed five times for 17 yards and a touchdown. Not terrible, but not great either, especially when you realize most of his passes were short dumps with significant yards coming after the catch. He simply needs to do more.
As for the rest of the Dolphins offence, running back Arian Foster failed to dazzle rushing just 13 times for 38 years, though he did have three receptions for 62 yards including a 50-yard dash after a failed blitz by the Seahawks. As usual, the most consistent player on the Dolphins offense was Jarvis Landry, who caught seven passes for 59 yards.
The Patriots and Dolphins have a lot of history. If Brady were playing, the Patriots would be even bigger favorites at home. However, that’s not the case, and the Patriots are a different team without the future Hall of Famer. Look for the Dolphins to put a lot of pressure on Garoppolo, and expect them to get to him more than a few times. The big question in this game is how will Garoppolo deal with the pressure? If he can handle it, the Patriots could go to 2-0, but if he crumbles, look for an upset in the Northeast.
Chad Holloway's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: If you didn’t see the Dolphins play in Week 1, then all you see is another loss (hence their drop in the power rankings). However, if you saw the game, then you know they deserve more respect than they’re getting. Once again they’re underdogs to a significant line. Last week I predicted the Seahawks would cover, but I’m not about to make the same mistake. The Dolphins, who are shaping up to be a more aggressive team under Adam Gase, will learn from their mistakes and their offense will get better. Their defense looks strong and I expect they’ll successfully get to Garoppolo. Not only do I think the Dolphins will cover the spread, I think they’ll win this game outright.
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