Monday Night Football Predictions
Will Patriots Keep Pace With Steelers For AFC Crown?
New England scared the crap out of their fans by losing two of their first four games, falling to the Chiefs in week one and the Panthers in week four. Since then, the Patriots tore through their schedule with eight wins in a row, asserting their dominance over the AFC. This win streak places them alongside the Pittsburgh Steelers for top spot in the AFC, as long as the Pats handle the Dolphins tonight.
Miami started off on the wrong foot when pivot Ryan Tannehill wrecked his knee during the preseason, placing him on the IR for the regular season. Jay Culter didn’t quite work out, so the Dolphins decided to trade leading rusher Jay Ajayi to the Eagles. This signaled a white flag waved by Miami’s front office, with the Dolphins losing five of their last six games.
- Game: New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
- Pick: Patriots Beat -12.0 Spread, Over 48.5
- NFL Odds Courtesy of Sports Interaction
Patriots at Dolphins - Vital Trends
New England’s Fantastic Defense
A quick look at the stats shows that New England has improved into the top ten for points allowed over the regular season. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that the Patriots defense has been ridiculous since losing to Cam Newton in week four. Over their eight-game win streak, the Patriots have given up only 11.9 PPG, one of the best defensive stretches of any team in 2017. Comparatively, Miami ranks in the bottom five for points allowed, with the potential to plunge to last this evening.
Brady’s Timeless Pivot Play
Nothing seems to slow down Brady, as he continues his improbable streak of elite quarterbacking at the advanced age of 40. Tom has a passer rating of 109.7 in 2017, throwing 26 TDs against four interceptions. Prior to facing the Bills solid defense in Buffalo, Brady threw 10 TDs in three weeks, include four against Miami two weeks ago. Even with the suspension of Ron Gronkowski, the Patriots offense should be able to score 30-plus points against the ‘Fins.
Dolphins Woeful Defending
Something happened to the Miami Dolphins in week eight, when they had to play a road game against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football. Miami refused to offer any sort of resistance against Baltimore, losing a stunning 40-0 shutout. This lead to a 1-6 losing trend in which Miami has given up an average of 31 points. This includes a strange blowout against the Broncos last week, where Denver could only muster nine points against one of the worst defenses in the NFL.
Dolphins Don’t Score Much Either
The Miami Dolphins became one of the rare teams to get shutout twice in one regular season during their 40-0 loss to the Ravens. While some automatically point to pivot Jay Cutler, the failure to score appears to be a team failure, including missed assignments by o-lines, routes not run well and a thin running game. Prior to tonight’s matchup, Miami’s the fifth worst offense in the NFL with 17.4 PPG, which isn’t nearly enough offense to overcome an extremely lax defense.
New England’s Hydra Running Team
The Patriots have established a competent rush by utilizing the skills of four different running backs, three of whom will be available this evening. Mike Gillislee, team leader in rushing TDs, will heal up for another week while Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead and James White will work together to fill in. Lewis and Burkhead have three rushing TDs apiece, while White’s used as a downfield target more often. Dion Lewis has been particularly effective over the last two weeks, averaging 102 yards over his past two games.
NFL X-Factors On Monday
Monday seems to be a curse for the Miami Dolphins, who have lost seven of their last eight games scheduled on Monday night football. The New England Patriots perform well on primetime, earning a 16-3 record over the last 19 in the evening.
New England dominates this matchup, earning 12 wins in the last fifteen against the division rival Dolphins. However, the Dolphins have beaten New England in three of their last four games in Miami. The latter trend won’t matter much with Miami out of the playoff running for all intents and purposes.
As the game gets closer to kickoff, the line has moved moderately towards New England. Prior to Monday, the Patriots were given a -11.5 spread to beat. Today, the spread has grown to 12. A half point doesn’t seem large, but it does signal a high level of confidence on behalf of the public purse.
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