Miami Dolphins (6-6, 6-6 ATS) at Jacksonville Jaguars (7-5, 5-7 ATS), NFL Week 14,
Municipal Stadium Jacksonville, F.L. Sunday December 13th, 1:00PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Miami +3/Jacksonville -3
The Miami Dolphins captured a huge victory last week as QB Chad Henne drove the team down field putting them in position for a Dan Carpenter game winning field goal over the division foes in the New England Patriots. The win got the Dolphins right back in the thick of the playoff hunt as they will now turn their attention to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 14.
The Jaguars were in a similar situation needing a win over the Texans to improve their postseason possibilities and they did just that beating Houston 23-18 helping them still control one of the wildcard spots in the AFC. However, the winner of this meeting Sunday at Municipal Stadium will go along way in determining which team’s playoff opportunities remain bright.
One thing that has become evident over the past few weeks it that even after losing Ronnie Brown, the Dolphins can still win football games as they have won 3 of the last 4 games. QB Chad Henne went to the air a career high 52 times completing 29 of those passes for 335 yards and two touchdowns. Outside of the Buffalo game, Henne has been fairly solid behind center for the Dolphins but they can not afford any more disastrous single game outings. Running back Ricky Williams has held his own as well in recent weeks rushing for 103 yards per game over the past 4 contests. The Dolphins will need that 1, 2 punch to keep defenses on their toes and keep their momentum going.
One thing that is a concern for the Dolphins is the play of their defense which has been very inconsistent all year. Miami has played well at times and in some ways on defense. The rush defense has allowed just 107 yards per game and gotten to the quarterback very well with 35 sacks on the season. However, the Dolphins secondary has allowed 242 yards per game which ranks 23rd in the NFL and they also rank a miserable 26th in the NFL in scoring defense allowing 25 points per game. The Dolphins primary objective will be getting pressure on David Garrard and forcing him to make some mistakes which he has done on occasions. If that happens, the Dolphins chances at a victory increases dramatically.
Jaguars QB David Garrard is really playing well as of late which is catching a lot of people by surprise. Garrard has thrown just 1 pick in the last 5 games and has racked up 2,848 yards and 10 touchdowns throughout the season as well. If Garrard continues to play well, he could be in for another big day against the inferior Miami defense. WR Mike Sims-Walker has been the emerging playmaker in the passing game, but has been slowed from a knee injury. Sims-Walker caught just 1 pass last week for 12 yards last week and the Jaguars need him to be healthy especially since the passing game will be so valuable in this week’s match-up.
Of course running back Maurice Jones-Drew is having a career season with 1,077 yards on the year with 13 touchdowns. Jones-Drew is also on the recovery path after a knee injury, but did manage to carry the work load last week for 24 carries and 76 yards. The chances of Jones-Drew being the difference maker this Sunday may be slim considering the Miami defensive front, but he could definitely aid in controlling the clock. These two teams have only met twice in the last 8 years and both outcomes were decided by a score of 24-10 with each team splitting victories. The chance that this game turns out to be a close is high and turnovers could be the deciding factor. However, considering how both teams will be in must win type scenarios the offenses could make some fireworks making the over the safest bet.
Jay’s Pick - Over 44.