Miami Dolphins (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6 SU, 2-5 ATS)
NFL Week 8
Date and Time: Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. EST
Where: Everbank Field
TV: CBS, DTV 711
by Vesper Abadon, Pro Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Mia -6 /Jac +6
Over/Under Total: 42.5
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Ive said it before and Ill say it again the Miami Dolphins are inconsistent. Just one week removed from blowing their Week 6 game against the Green Bay Packers, the Dolphins marched into Soldier Field and defeated the Chicago Bears in convincing fashion. The Dolphins are having an identity crisis, and they need to resolve it sooner than later.
The Dolphins coaching staff came in with an aggressive game plan against the Bears, and it paid off in a big way. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill went an impressive 25 of 32 for 277 yards and two touchdowns, which gave him a 123.6 rating. Thats worlds better than what were used to out of the third-year quarterback, and he improved his season stats to 138 of 218 for 1,423 yards, 10 touchdowns, and five interceptions making him the 25th-ranked QB in the league with a rating of 87.8.
Not only did Tannehill have a good game through the air, he was reminiscent of Cam Newton by rushing six times for 48 yards, including a 30-yard sprint. Likewise, running back Lamar Miller continued to produce carrying 18 times for 61 yards and a touchdown. That brought his yearly total to 81 carries for 391 yards (4.8 Avg) and four touchdowns.
The Dolphins also spread things out through the air as Tannehill completed at least two passes to eight different receivers. Tight end Charles Clay did the best hauling in four passes for 58 yards and a touchdown, while Mike Wallace, who has caught a touchdown in every game this season but one, continued to thrive catching five passes for 46 yards and a score. Wallace is the Dolphins leading receiver this season with 30 receptions for 359 yards (12 Avg) and five touchdowns.
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The question is can the Dolphins keep the ball rolling when they travel upstate to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars, whore coming off their first win of the year? The answer is that they definitely should. The Jaguars are ranked 28th in defense allowing an average of 390.4 total yards per game (YPG) — which includes 280.1 passing YPG and 110.3 rushing YPG and give up an average of 27.3 points per game (PPG). The Dolphins, who have the 12th-ranked offense averaging 359.8 YPG 223.5 passing YPG (22nd) and 136.3 rushing YPG (4th) shouldnt have too much trouble putting up points.
The same cant be said of the Jaguars, who have the leagues second-to-last offense averaging a mere 296.6 total YPG. Their passing game averages just 210.6 YPG and are ranked 27th in the league, while their rushing game is even worse at 30th averaging 86 YPG. Those numbers dont stack up well against the Dolphins 4th-ranked defense, which holds opponents to an average of 313.7 YPG (213.3 passing YPG; 100.3 rushing YPG).
That said, the Jaguars surprised the Cleveland Browns last week when their defense helped them snap a nine-game losing streak with a 24-6 victory, their first win since December 15, 2013. While the defense did most of the work, second-year running back Denard Robinson showed up in a big way carrying 22 times for 127 yards and a touchdown. It was much needed too as quarterback Blake Bortles floundered going 17 of 31 for 159 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. As a result Robinson, a former Michigan quarterback, is expected to take over as the starting back.
Vespers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Any team going up against the Jacksonville Jaguars should walk away with a win, and the Dolphins are no exception. Theyre clearly the better team, and they wont allow the Jaguars to control the tempo of the game like they did against Cleveland.
Also working in the Dolphins favor is the return of defensive end Dion Jordan, last years No. 3 overall pick. His six-game suspension is up, so hell jump right into defensive coordinator Kevin Coyles 4-3 scheme, which is bad news for Bortles.
At 3-3 the Dolphins are in the AFC Playoff hunt, but its time to step up or shut up. They did the former against Chicago, but now its time to see if they can show some consistency and walk away with back-to-back wins for the first time this year. If they cant beat the Jaguars by at least a touchdown, they dont deserve to be in the Playoffs.
On a side not, dont expect this to be a high-scoring affair. The last two times these teams met granted one of them was a preseason game the Dolphins held the Jaguars to three points in each game. The Dolphins will put up points, but the Jaguars wont. I like the under in this matchup.