Miami Dolphins (10-5) +2.5 43o/u at New York Jets -2.5 43o/u (9-6)
Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J., 4:15PM Eastern, Sunday
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
The last game of the NFL regular season is here and there is still a lot to watch for. Headlining the AFC playoff picture will be a battle between playoff hopefuls the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets. The Dolphins are in a tie for first place in the AFC with the New England Patriots while the Jets are one game back in the east standing on the outside looking in. The Jets have done everything possible to miss the playoffs, but still have a shot if they can pull of a victory this Sunday and get some help from a few more teams around the league.
The New York Jets suffered a disappointing loss last week when they fell to the Seahawks 13-3. The New York offense was missing in action and they will need to locate the offensive weapons against a Miami team that posted 38 points last weekend. The Jets offense has been strong all season, but they have not been as effective in recent weeks. On the season, the Jets are averaging 25 points per game which is 5th best in the NFL. New York has also found a strong running game that averages 129 yards per game resulting in a top 10 rushing offense. The Jets look for running back Thomas Jones to have a big day against the Miami defense. Jones has racked up over 1200 yards this season on the ground along with 13 touchdowns as he will play a big part in giving the Jets a shot at the playoffs.
Miami on the other hand is in much better position for the playoffs, but a win still is a must. The Dolphins win the tie-breaker with the Patriots if they both win this weekend meaning Miami would clinch the AFC East. If the Dolphins lose, they will need either a loss from New England or Baltimore to continue on in the postseason. The Dolphins are fresh off a 38-31 shootout with the Kansas City Chiefs and have been playing some good football in recent weeks. The Dolphins have knocked off 4 straight wins and look to end the regular season as one of hottest teams in the NFL. Miami is averaging 21points per game this season while allowing 20 points on defense. Miami has not really blown teams away this year as they are accustomed to playing in some tight games. In the Dolphins 10 wins this season, 8 of those games have been by 9 points or less. The Miami and New York battle is shaping up to be another great game with huge implications.
Bookmakers have opened the betting line favoring the New York Jets by a field goal at -3 points. Betting odds against the spread are being held with both teams at -110. The over/under total for the game is posted at 42 and a large portion of the betting public is favoring the over total for the game.
Quarterback Chad Pennington has been the leader in the resurrection of the Miami Dolphins this season. A year after only winning one ball game, Pennington has the Dolphins in prime position for the playoffs. On the season, Pennington has thrown for a strong 3,453 yards while completing 67% of his passes. Pennington has also thrown for 17 touchdowns and 7 picks for the year as well. On the ground, Miami has been fairly affective as well with a pair of running backs sharing touches. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams have totaled over 1400 yards this season along with 14 touchdowns. The ground game will be a key factor when these two teams square off in East Rutherford in cold conditions.
New York quarterback Brett Farve has done miracle work for the Jets much like Pennington this season. Farve is completing 67% of his passes this season totaling in 3,239 yards and 21 touchdowns. The downside to Brett Farve the legend is he has been plagued throughout his career with throwing interceptions. This season things are no different as Farve has thrown a NFL leading 19 interceptions. The Jets can not afford to give up many turnovers because every possession will be critical for their postseason potential. The Jets secondary has struggled this season ranking as one of the worst in the NFL allowing 225 yards per game. This secondary will receive plenty of looks downfield from quarterback Chad Pennington of the Dolphins and the secondary will need to step up big for the Jets.
Miami is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games, but they are a strong 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games on the road. The Dolphins have been on the under total in 7 of their last 9 games. New York on the other hand has not faired well against the books at home or away. The Jets are a lazy 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games and only 3-6 ATS in their last 9 games at home. The Jets have been consistent on the over total reaching plus points in 5 of their last 7 games.
Jays Pick I like the Dolphins ATS in this game with a big play. They are playing excellent football while the Jets are stumbling. Take Miami +3. Also, consider a wager on the under for this game. While many are jumping on the over, the Jets offense has slowed tremendously and this should more of a grudge match for both teams than the experts are predicting. Consider the Under 42 as well.