Miami Dolphins (6-5 SU, 7-4 ATS) vs. New York Jets (2-9 SU, 2-8-1 ATS)
NFL Week 13
Date and Time: Monday, December 1, 2014 at 8:30 p.m. EST
Where: Metlife Stadium
TV: ESPN; DTV 206
by Vesper Abadon, Pro Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Mia -5.5 / NYJ +5.5
Over/Under Total: 41.5
The Miami Dolphins may not have won in Week 12, but they did go into Denver and give the Broncos a run for their money. Any team able to do that deserves some credit. The Fins have lost quite a few close games this year and now sit at 6-5, which means they need to string together some wins if they hope to make the Playoffs. That begins this week on Monday Night Football against the New York Jets. The Dolphins and Jets have played some classic games many on MNF but the Jets lead the all-time series 49-46-1.
The Dolphins enter the week with the 17th-ranked offense averaging 345.2 total yards per game (YPG) and 25.9 points per game (PPG). They rank 23rd in passing averaging 220.6 YPG, and 9th rushing with an average of 124.5 YPG. Defensively the Dolphins hold opponents to an average of 315.9 total YPG (211.7 passing YPG; 104.2 rushing YPG) and 19.9 PPG, which makes them 5th-best in the league.
The two biggest reasons the Dolphins have been winning are their defense, which didnt look so good against Peyton Manning last week (but then again who does), and third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is the NFLs 11th-ranked quarterback with a 93.4 rating having gone 257 of 389 for 2,582 yards, 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
His favorite target has been rookie Jarvis Landry, who has shown he is the real deal hauling in 49 passes for 450 yards (9.2 Avg) and five touchdowns. Right behind him is Mike Wallace, who has 48 catches for 592 yards (12.3 Avg) and seven touchdowns, while both wide receiver Brian Hartline (31 receptions for 360 yards and a touchdown) and tight end Charles Clay (39 receptions for 346 yards and a pair of touchdowns) have been doing their part.
One of the reasons Tannehill has been doing so well is that the coaching staff has allowed him to use his legs. The quarterback is the teams second-leading rusher having carried 41 times for 276 yards (6.7 Avg) and a touchdown. Tannehill is actually the leagues fourth-best rushing QB behind Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson. The teams leading rusher is Lamar Miller, who has carried 137 times for 673 yards (4.8 Avg) and five touchdowns.
As for the Jets, they have the leagues 29th-ranked offense averaging 310.2 total YPG and 16.1 PPG. Their passing game averages just 173.7 YPG dead last in the NFL while their rushing game ranks 5th averaging 136.4 YPG. Defensively the Jets allow an average of 324.8 total YPG (238.6 passing YPG; 86.2 rushing YPG) and 27.5 PPG.
The Jets arent sure who will start come Monday night. Michael Vick went 7 of 10 for 76 yards in Week 12 before being pulled in the third quarter in favor of Geno Smith. Vick is also dealing with some lingering injury issues. No matter who starts, theyll have their work cut out as the Dolphins boast one of the best and most aggressive secondaries in the league.
If theres a silver lining for the Jets its their rushing game. Chris Ivory has carried 130 times for 579 yards (4.5 Avg) and five touchdowns, while Chris Johnson has carried the load 92 times for 400 yards (4.3 Avg) and a touchdown. If the Broncos C.J. Anderson was able to rush for 167 yards on 27 carries (6.2 Avg) against the Dolphins, the Jets should be confident they can replicate similar success on the ground.
Vespers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Jets are struggling. They put up a measly three points in their loss to the Buffalo Bills, and theyve shown no signs of improving over the weeks. Meanwhile, the Dolphins continue to impress and its clear theyre headed in the right direction. They even have an outside shot at the Playoffs, though theyll need a win against the Jets to make it happen.
The last time these two teams met, which was in Week 17 of last year, the Dolphins simply needed to win to get into the Playoffs. Unfortunately for them, they fell apart and only put up seven points not enough to get the job done. I think the Dolphins will come in with revenge on their minds knowing they need to win if they hope to make the postseason this season. Thats an awful lot of motivation, and unless the Jets are able to get their act together and right quick, the Dolphins are going to win this match.
Keep in mind every time the Dolphins have won this season theyve done so by double digits, and I expect theyll do the same in New York to cover the spread. As for the total, Id bet the under. Both teams will run the ball a lot, which will bleed time from the clock. Less time to score means less points on the board. I predict the Dolphins win 27-10.