Denver Broncos (1-4 SU, 1-4 ATS) vs. Miami Dolphins (0-5 SU, 0-4-1 ATS), Week 7 NFL, 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, October 23, 2011, Mall of America Field, Miami, Fla. TV: CBS
by Ryno, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Den Pick’em/MIA Pick’em
Over/Under Total: 42.5
Make the Phins a +20 underdog by placing them into a 20 point football teaser at one of the web’s best sportsbooks: 5Dimes.
Two teams down on their luck. Two teams struggling to find a victory. Two teams that have already switched quarterbacks this season. It’s the Denver Broncos and the Miami Dolphins - not quite primetime game of the week material. It’s the Andrew Luck game - two teams possibly vying for the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, already looking forward to that, when they can possibly draft the Stanford QB who is widely considered a stud prospect.
The Broncos started the season with Kyle Orton at quarterback while the Dolphins started off with Chad Henne under center. But Henne got injured and replaced by Matt Moore, while Orton wasn’t quite getting the job done and the Broncos finally gave in to the fans’ cheers for Tim Tebow, as Tebow will make his first start on Sunday.
Moore held his own in his first start of the season on Monday night in a loss to the to the New York Jets, 24-6. Moore’s numbers weren’t great - he was 16-for-34 passing for 204 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions - and the Dolphins got smoked. But he moved the ball down the field and put the ball in positions for receivers to catch the ball. But the Dolphins constantly dropped passes and made mistakes, making it much more difficult for Moore to keep his team in the game. He even got star wide receiver Brandon Marshall involved with six receptions for 109 yards, but Marshall could have had even more if he caught the passes he dropped and Darrelle Revis didn’t come up with two key interceptions.
Meanwhile, Tebow came into the game in the second half for the Broncos in their last game, a 29-24 loss to the San Diego Chargers. Down 26-10, Tebow led his team back into the game with a chance to win it at the end, but ultimately they fell just short. Tebow was 4-for-10 passing for 79 yards and a touchdown, plus six rushes for 38 yards and another touchdown. Although his completion percentage was just 40 percent, if he can replicate what he did in that game for an entire game, the Broncos will be in much better shape going forward. His versatility makes it tough for the opposing defense to prepare.
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The Broncos just recently traded Brandon Lloyd, who led the NFL in receiving yards last year. With him gone, the wide outs Tebow will rely on will be Eric Decker (22 receptions, 266 yards, four touchdowns) and a host of other relatively unknown pass catchers. On the ground, the Broncos give the ball to Willis McGahee (334 rush yards, one touchdown) and Knowshon Moreno, when he’s healthy (which he hasn’t been).
Outside of Marshall, who has 28 receptions for 422 yards and one touchdown this season, Moore’s top targets include Davone Bess, Brian Hartline and Reggie Bush. On the ground, Bush has 190 rushing yards while rookie Daniel Thomas has 249 rushing yards in just three games. Neither one of them has a rushing touchdown.
This game will come down to which quarterback is more effective. Moore needs to get his receivers involved and not turn the ball over. Tebow needs to do what he does best - scramble, run the ball, and make a few nice passes down the field. Whichever QB is more impressive and makes less mistakes will likely win the game.
The Broncos are 1-4-1 ATS in their last six games, 0-4 ATS in their last four games following a SU loss, and 0-6 ATS in their last six October games. The Dolphins are 6-29 ATS in their last 35 games as a home favorite, 0-5-1 ATS in their last six games following a SU loss, 0-4-1 ATS in their last five games following an ATS loss, 0-7-1 ATS in their last eight games overall, and 0-4 ATS in their last four games against teams with a losing record. The Broncos are 0-6 ATS in their last six meetings with the Dolphins. The underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings between these teams.
Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Yeah, yeah, Tebow’s back yard, Tebow spark the team, big point spread move from 3 down to a pickem, blah blah blah. Miami wins this game and has all the Tebow fans up in arms.
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