New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins
Two AFC East rivals meet as the New England Patriots host the Miami Dolphins in Week 16 NFL action. The Patriots are -10.5 favorites over the Dolphins with an over/under point total set at 48.5.
The New England Patriots had a goal this season of winning the Super Bowl and with two games left to go in the regular season they appear to at least have a chance of accomplishing it. The Patriots have the best record in the AFC and if they win out they will get a first round bye and have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Tom Brady is having another great year in his Hall of Fame career as he has completed 66.2 percent of his passes for 4,593 yards with 35 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. It’s running back by committee for the Pats as BenJarvus Green- Ellis and Danny Woodhead have been doing it all season long and both had touchdowns this week but the leading gainer on the ground was Stevan Ridley with 65 yards. Brady is also spreading it around to his receivers as Rob Gronkowski is having a Pro Bowl year at tight end and Wes Welker leads the team in receptions but last week it was Aaron Hernandez with nine catches and a touchdown and Chad Ochocinco with a 33 yard touchdown. Defensively it has been rough for New England as they haven’t been able to stop anyone but get it done by getting turnovers and their plus 12 turnover ratio on the year. Even with their problems Kyle Arrington has 77 tackles and seven interceptions, Jerrod Mayo has 76 tackles, and Andre Carter has 10 sacks but this unit will be much better when Patrick Chung gets healthy. While the Patriots seem to do it with smoke and mirrors sometimes they do get it done and like always they are a big factor.
The Miami Dolphins are having as good of a second half of the season as anyone and after their horrific start the question of why weren’t they playing like this all along is what cost Tony Sporano his job. While a lot was expected of the Miami defense this season and they have come on strong, the Dolphins also have some pleasant surprises on offense and will have some big decisions to make this off season. QB Matt Moore has proved he can win in the NFL and he has completed 60.8 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions despite being sacked 30 times. Reggie Bush has proved he can get it done carrying the ball as he is averaging 5.0 yards per carry and has 973 yards and six touchdowns and he has also caught 41 passes and rookie Daniel Thomas appears to have a bright future as he’s rushed for 550 yards with almost all of it coming between the tackles. Brandon Marshall looks like one of the best receivers in football again making 70 catches and scoring five touchdowns, Davone Bess has 42 catches, and Brian Hartline has 29 catches. The Miami defense started the season in a big hole and ranked dead last as they were roasted by Brady in the opener in Brady’s best game of his career statistically but they have rebounded nicely allowing just 339.1 yards and 19.2 points. Yeremiah Bell has been solid with 91 tackles, Karlos Dansby has 88 tackles, and Kevin Burnett has 82 tackles. While the Dolphins have been playing for next year for a while and with a new coach on the way there is always uncertainty but there is no doubt that they will be up for this one as it is a rivalry game and they look for revenge after what happened in the first meeting of these two this year.
New England is 7-2 against the spread in their last nine against the AFC East, 5-2 against the spread against a team with a losing record, and 2-5 against the spread in their last seven home games against a team with a losing road record. Miami is 4-1 against the spread in their last five against the AFC, 21-8-1 against the spread in their last 30 road games, and 7-1 against the spread in their last eight games overall. The road team has covered seven of the last nine meetings of these two.
The total in this one is set at 48.5 and while it looks to be a little high, it isn’t really for these teams as New England gets it done and Miami has been clicking as well in the second half of the year so for my pick I will go with the over.