St. Louis Rams ( 3-2 SU, 4-1 ATS) vs. Miami Dolphins (2-3 SU, 3-1-1 ATS)
NFL Week 6
Date/Time: Sunday, October 14/1 PM EST
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
TV: FOX/DirecTV 705
by Vesper Abadon, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Stl +3.5/MIA -3.5
Over/Under Total: 37.5
During the offseason, the Miami Dolphins courted Jeff Fisher in the hopes that he would become their new high-profile head coach. It seemed like destiny, but then the St. Louis Rams lured the veteran coach to the “Gateway to the West”. On Sunday, Fisher will make the trek to South Florida to take on Joe Philbin, the man who ultimately became the Fins’ head coach, for the very first time. Both are first-year coaches with their respective teams, and both have given their fans something to be excited about.
Miami might not look like anything special with a 2-3 record, but they’ve actually been flying under the radar and having a heck of a season; in fact, if not for two overtime losses they would be 4-1 and atop the AFC East. Obviously that’s not the case, but it is evidence of their capabilities. Offensively, the Dolphins are ranked 13th (YPG) in the league, which is certainly a shock considering rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill is leading the offense with what was considered an inferior receiving corps.
Defensively the Dolphins are 15th (YPG) in the NFL, though they rank first against the rush allowing just 61.4 yards/game. That means the Dolphins’ front seven are essentially an impenetrable wall. Still don’t believe it? Consider the numbers-in the first five weeks, the Dolphins defense have contained the following backs: Arian Foster (26 carries/79 yards), Darren McFadden (11 carries/22 yards), Shonn Green (19 carries/40 yards), Ryan Williams (13 carries/26 yards) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (9 carries/14 yards).
Now compare all those stats with the Rams, who enter Week 6 with a surprising 3-2 record (the first time they’ve been above .500 since Nov. 4, 2006 when they were 4-3). While that’s all well and good, it’s comes from an offense that is ranked 29th (YPG) in the NFL and a defense ranked 14th (YPG). Steven Jackson, who many feel is beyond his prime and on his way out, has yet to get the run game going (22nd with 94.6 yards/game), and their passing game is third to last in the league (30th with 183.4 yards/game). Certainly nothing to write home about.
As previously discuss, the Dolphins’ defense is the best against the run, so if the Rams are going to win this game, it’ll have to be through the air. Sam Bradford has proven himself capable on several occasions, but the recent loss of his favorite target, Danny Amendola, does not bode well for an already struggling offense. With that said, the Dolphins’ secondary has its weaknesses, and the Rams will have their opportunities to attack downfield.
On the flip side, the Dolphins’ offense will have their struggles against an established Rams’ defense, one that held the usually potent Cardinals’ offense to just three points in Week 5. The Dolphins average 237.2 yards/game through the air and 136.2 on the ground, while the Rams hold opponents to an average of 218.2 yards/game passing and 117.2 rushing-two relatively balance squads. However, the Dolphins will make their fair share of mistakes, the major factor that has seen them shoot themselves in the foot twice this season, and the Rams will no doubt be prepared to take advantage.
Vesper Abadon’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This is the first game all season that Miami has been listed as the favorite, and that’s a bit of added pressure for them to win. Both teams have a solid defense (with exception of the STL run D being a bit shaky), which means the deciding factor in this matchup will be the respective offenses and how well they’re able to perform. Miami has the edge in that department, especially after the Rams’ loss of Amendola; however, it’s worth noting that the Rams have had three extra days to prepare after playing a Thursday night game. I think this game will be a low-scoring affair, one that could very well come down to a field goal-making a 3.5 line scary-but I believe Miami will continue their momentum, get a win while covering the spread, and put both teams at .500.
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