Miami Dolphins (2-4, 2-4 ATS) vs. New York Jets (4-3, 4-3 ATS), NFL Week 8, Giants Stadium, New Jersey, Sunday, Nov. 1st, 1PM Eastern, CBS
By Z-Man of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Mia +3.5/NYJ -3.5
AFC East rivals conclude their regular-season series for the year when the New York Jets, fresh off an easy victory in Oakland, host the Miami Dolphins, blowers of a 21-point lead in a loss to New Orleans, this Sunday afternoon.
Most online sportsbooks opened this game Monday with New York favored by 3 1/2 or four points, with a total of 40 or 40 . Most places have since dropped the Jets a half-point, while the total has basically remained the same.
New York is also listed at right around -185 on most NFL betting moneylines, with the Dolphins getting +160 as underdogs.
Even though Miami won the AFC East last season, few observers expected them to repeat that feat this year. And that’s the way things have played out for the Dolphins so far. They began the season with a loss at Atlanta, another one at home to Indianapolis, a game in which Miami ran for 239 yards and held the ball for 45 minutes, and a third straight defeat at San Diego. The ‘Fins bounced back a bit with home wins over Buffalo and these Jets, but Sunday, with a chance to get back to .500 on the season, allowed the Saints to score 36 points in the second half and lost 46-34.
New York began the season with three straight wins, at Houston and at home over New England and Tennessee. But they followed that up with three losses, at New Orleans and Miami, and at home vs. the Bills. Sunday the Jets got back on the good side of .500 with a 38-0 drubbing of the hapless Raiders out in Oakland.
So at 4-3 New York sits in second place in the AFC East, one game behind the division-leading Patriots, while Miami brings up the rear at 2-4.
The Dolphins are using the most effective version of the wildcat offense in the league to outrush opponents this season by a 171-87 YPG margin. Miami also ranks second in the league in average time-of-possession at +8:06.
The Jets, meanwhile, after racking up 316 yards on the ground Sunday vs. the Raiders, now lead the NFL in rushing at 185 YPG. On defense they rank 22nd vs. the run, allowing 116 YPG. So on the season New York is outrushing opponents by an average of 69 YPG, and they rank seventh in TOP at +3:50.
Miami began the season with veteran Chad Pennington starting at quarterback, but he went down and out for the season in week 3 with another injury to his throwing shoulder. In his place, 2nd-year man Chad Henne has run hot-and-cold, completing 60% of his passes for 6.4 YPA, which is low, three TDs and three INTs, and a 76.5 QB rating.
The other starting QB in this match-up, Jets rookie Mark Sanchez, has had his ups-and-downs, too, especially during that loss to the Bills. On the season, the former USC Trojan has hit on just 53% of his throws for 6.6 YPA, with six TDs and 10 INTs, and a 61.5 passers rating.
In Miami’s 31-27 win over New York three weeks ago, the Dolphins ran the wildcat for 151 yards, held the ball for almost 34 minutes and scored the winning touchdown with under 10 seconds to go on a run. Miami won outright as three-point home underdogs that night. And while the teams combined to score 23 points through the first three quarters of the game, they then teamed up to score five TDs in the fourth quarter, which sent the game well past its over/under of 36.
Last year these two teams split their two meetings, with the Brett Favre-led Jets winning 20-14 in Miami and the Dolphins winning 24-17 in New Jersey. Both those games stayed under the totals.
The over/unders are 4-2 in Dolphins games so far this season, which have averaged nearly 50 total points. Meanwhile, the totals are 3-4 in Jets games this season, which have averaged just under 37 points per.
Sagarin’s PURE POINTS rankings at USAToday.com rate the Jets at 28.0, the ‘Fins at 24.9. Factoring in Sagarin’s updated NFL home-field advantage figure of 1.4, and New York is a 4 1/2-point home favorite over Miami on the Sagarin line.
Zman’s Pick Gimme those points! Take the Dolphins at +3.5!