Arizona Cardinals (5-6-1 SU, 4-8 ATS) vs. Miami Dolphins (7-5 SU, 5-5-2 ATS)
NFL Week 14
Date/Time: Sunday, December 11, 2016 at 1:00 PM EST
Where: Hard Rock Stadium
TV: FOX, DTV: 712
by Chad Holloway, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread:ARZ +1/MIA -1
Over/Under Total: 43
The Miami Dolphins laid a big egg last week in their 6-38 loss on the road to the Baltimore Ravens. They played uninspired football, which was disappointing considering at the time they held the No. 6 seed in the AFC Playoff race. Now theyre tied with a bunch of others at No. 7 and likely need to win out if they hope to get in.
Likewise, the Arizona Cardinals, who are coming off a 31-23 win over the Washington Redskins, are barely holding on in the NFC Playoff race and definitely need to win out if they hope to get in. That makes this weeks matchup a must-win for both teams, who only face off once every four years (the Cardinals have won the last three games dating back to 2004).
Heres the deal. Neither of these teams are equivalent to their records. The Cardinals are better than 5-6-1, or at least play at such a level that they should have a better record, while the Dolphins arent as good as their 7-5 record suggests (they barely defeated a lot of terrible teams during their six-game win streak). Just look at last week to see what happens when the Dolphins play a capable team, especially one with a stout defense.
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Speaking of tough defenses, the Cardinals enter Week 14 with the second-best in the NFL holding opponents to an average of 29.7.2 total yards per game (YPG) and 20.9 points per game (PPG). That includes just 199.3 passing YPG and 97.9 rushing YPG. As for their offense, the Cardinals are ranked ninth in the league averaging 369.1 total YPG and 23 PPG. Their rushing game is 15th averaging 105.2 YPG, while their passing game is a bit better in ninth averaging 263.8 YPG.
As for the Dolphins, both their offense and defense are ranked 25th in the NFL. Offensively, the Dolphins average 327.8 total YPG and 21.2 PPG. Their passing game is a lowly 28th averaging 216.2 YPG, but their rushing game is a lot better in eighth place averaging 111.5 YPG. Defensively, the Dolphins allow an average of 373.1 total YPG and 23.2 PPG. That includes 242.8 passing YPG and 130.3 rushing YPG.
If theres anything to be gleaned from these numbers, its that the Dolphins have their work cut out. Not only will they struggle to move the ball against a premiere defense, theyre going to have a tough time shutting down Carson Palmer through the air and David Johnson on the ground.
Chad Holloway’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I love what Adam Gase is doing in Miami, and I think a strong Coach of the Year case can be made for him, but this inspiring season for Dolphins fans is not going to have a happy ending. By that I mean theyre not going to make the Playoffs. The Cardinals will see to that this weekend as theyre going to win this game outright. Unless the Dolphins come out with a new bag of tricks and sense of urgency, I see them losing in similar fashion to last week. As for the O/U, Id bet the over but anticipating most points coming from the Cardinals.
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