Miami Dolphins (4-2 SU, 3-2-1 ATS) vs. Baltimore Ravens (3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS)
NFL Week 8
Date/Time: Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 8:25PM EST
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIA +3/BAL -3
Over/Under Total: 37.5
The Miami Dolphins come to M&T Stadium on Sunday for an AFC matchup with the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Baltimore is coming off yet another fruitless Sunday, losing 24-16 to the Vikings with a late meaningless TD making the score look for-respectable than the game really was. It was their fourth loss in four games and they really need to deliver at home this week. It wont be easy, as they face a resolute Dolphins team that scored another comeback win on Sunday, overcoming a 28-14 deficit in the final quarter to beat the Jets, 31-28.
Granted, weeks one and two were not enough to signal a Baltimore revival, but it sure looked like they had worked some things out and were on their way to a good season. Now, its a different story. The defense, which looked so good to start, has deteriorated. They still flaunt a good secondary, but cant stop the run. And the offense looks like one of the worst in the league. Joe Flacco isnt putting up numbers and their only positive development in the last month was a win over a compromised Raiders team. All their recent losses have been of the clear variety. On Sunday, they didnt get into the end zone until late in the game. And to make matters worse for an offense already stripped of playmakers, WR Mike Wallace went down with a concussion.
Joe Flacco looks like hes struggling, likely a combination of his form slipping, along with an offense that cant really develop any big difference-makers. The cast of people around him is pretty no-frills group. They can hang in there when its a low-scoring game and a battle of field goals, as they did for a half against the Vikes on Sunday. But they were unable to keep pace in the second half. Their backfield, with Alex Collins and Javorious Allen, has not made much of an impact. And the receiving crew is made up of whoever happens to catch balls on a given day. Its a bad situation. At the end of the day, you need the horses and this group simply doesnt have them on this side of the ball. Flaccos season-high in yardage is 235 yards and his numbers have suffered this season.
The Baltimore defense isnt bad against the pass. In fact, it would be interesting to see how guys like Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr, Eric Weddle, and Tony Jefferson would do if they had support up-front. This group really cant stop the run. And with some of the guys they have on this side of the ball, like CJ Mosley and Terrell Suggs, they still havent managed much of a pass-rush and didnt get to Case Keenum once on Sunday. Opposing running backs are feasting on this bunch and even guys who havent done much this season, like Latavius Murray, are putting up big numbers against this D.
The Dolphins have somewhat quietly gotten to a 4-2 record in a season where they have already faced some different challenges. With their home-opener postponed, they have played at home just twice this season, with this being their 5th road game. The win over the Jets was their third win a row and the second time they overcame a big second half deficit in as many weeks. On Sunday, QB Jay Cutler was injured and cracked some ribs, meaning we are likely to see Matt Moore in there on Thursday and he did pretty well with two touchdowns in relief, as well as the 4th-quarter comeback they used to win the game. The Dolphins have won 14 of their last 18 regular season games.
Moore and Cutler both threw two touchdowns on Sunday in the big win. They have done it quietly, as not a lot of people are talking about the Dolphins yet. On Sunday, Jay Ajayi was pretty quiet on the ground, but the aerial production proved to be enough. Kenny Stills was big with two TD catches, as Anthony Fasano and Jarvis Landry also hauled in scoring throws. TE Julius Thomas is showing signs of beginning to click in this offense. Interestingly, when a games margin is 7 or fewer points, the Dolphins have won 12 straight, closing in on an NFL record. Their form in the last few weeks, as they scored consecutive comeback wins, tells a lot about the character on this side of the ball.
The defense was a big part of the win on Sunday for Miami. They have made a lot of key plays over the course of the season. On Sunday, with the Jets driving, Bobby McCain pulled in a pick to seal the deal. They have been getting good play up-front, with Cameron Wake getting after quarterbacks in a big way. Ndamukong Suh is a big reason why the Fins are so good against the run. The addition of Lawrence Timmons, who has hit the ground running since his belated debut, has helped guys like Kiko Alonso and the second level is a real asset now.
Some might remember last season when Baltimore met a streaking Miami team that had won 6 games and they hammered the Fins, 38-6. That might suggest some inherent matchup wrinkle that might favor the Ravens. Still, that had all the earmarks of an aberration. Heading into week eight, we see a sideways Ravens bunch that doesnt have a lot, but isnt even getting the most out of that. On the other sideline is a Dolphins team that has overcome adversity, both on the field and in a personnel-loss standpoint. Despite the QB issues for the Dolphins, I see them getting the cover and maybe even the win against the Ravens on Thursday Night Football.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Miami Dolphins plus 3 points - Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a FAT 100% bonus up to $1000 at MyBookie! (Use Promo Code: PRDCT14)