NFL Free Picks: Back Rested Dolphins Over Jets In AFC East Week 9 Matchup

Jay Ajayi in action

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 5:15 PM GMT

All eyes in the NFL -- well, many at least -- this Sunday will be on Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi as he looks to set a league record when Miami hosts the New York Jets. The Fins are -3.5 on 5Dimes NFL odds with a total of 44.

 

Jets What To Watch For

New York (3-5) had no choice but to return Ryan Fitzpatrick to his starting quarterback role last week at winless Cleveland even though he was the lowest-rated QB in the NFL and had thrown the most interceptions. The Jets had replaced Fitzpatrick as the starter with Geno Smith the week before, but Smith suffered a season-ending torn ACL in the second quarter. Fitzpatrick played well in relief of him and because youngsters Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg aren't ready, the Jets had to go with Fitz in Cleveland even though he had criticized the front office and coaching staff after being benched.

The Jets trailed the pathetic Browns 20-7 at halftime but dominated the second half to win 31-28. Fitzpatrick didn't throw a pick but was just 16-for-34 passing for 228 yards with a TD. Matt Forte largely carried the load on offense against a terrible Cleveland run defense with 25 carries for 82 yards and two scores. He became only the fourth player in league history with at least 50 rushing TDs, 500 catches and 20 receiving scores. The other three -- Marcus Allen, Marshall Faulk and Herschel Walker -- are in the Hall of fame.

I hope Jets fans don't think the offense is fixed because the Browns have allowed at least 25 points in every game this season and at least 30 in five games. Plus Fitzpatrick was just 3-for-14 for 30 yards in the first half. The defense also wasn't all that sharp. Former star CB Darrelle Revis continues to look old as he allowed 10 catches for 122 yards.

The Jets are 3-5 ATS on NFL odds this season and 4-3-1 O/U.

Dolphins What To Watch For

Miami (3-4) comes off its bye week and upset both Pittsburgh and Buffalo in south Florida entering the break. How did the Dolphins do that? Largely on Ajayi's back. The 2015 fifth-round pick from Boise State began this season as the second-stringer behind Arian Foster and Ajayi wasn't even brought to Seattle for the opener because of an attitude problem.

But as is usually the case, Foster got hurt -- and Ajayi took the opportunity and ran with it. He carried 25 times for 204 yards and two touchdowns against the Steelers and 28 times for 214 yards and a touchdown vs. the Bills. Ajayi joins O.J. Simpson (twice), Earl Campbell and former Dolphin Ricky Williams as the only players to have consecutive 200-yard games. No one has done it three in a row. The Jets lead the NFL in allowing 74.0 rushing yards per game.

Obviously there's no question who the primary back is now, and Foster actually retired during the bye week. Coach Adam Gase has shifted the focus of the offense from Ryan Tannehill's passing to Ajayi now that the Dolphins' entire starting offensive line is all healthy at once. That didn't happen during the 1-4 start when Tannehill was sacked 17 times.

Miami got pretty healthy during the week off, but top tight end Jordan Cameron remains in the NFL protocol, hasn't played since Week 3 and probably won't here. The Fins are 3-4 ATS on NFL picks and 4-3 O/U.

The Dolphins were swept by New York last year and Ajayi wasn't a factor. But these Fins are confident and have found their identity. The 'under' is 8-3 in the past 11 meetings.

NFL Free Picks: Dolphins -3.5 & 'Under' 44

Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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