Monday Night Football Picks: Dolphins vs. Buccaneers

Jason Lake

Thursday, November 7, 2013 12:36 PM GMT

Who’s going to get fired first: Greg Schiano or Joe Philbin? The more recent troubles in Miami’s dressing room could cost the Dolphins their head coach – and their shot at beating the Week 10 NFL lines. 

NFL Betting: Dolphins vs. Buccaneers Betting the Spread

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to November 6 inclusive:

23-19-1 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

4-6 Totals 

Things looked pretty bad for the Miami Dolphins earlier this week. They look worse now. The Richie Incognito Incident, aka Bullygate, is threating to consume the Fish in much the same way that Bountygate took down the New Orleans Saints last year. But that isn’t stopping people who bet on the NFL from taking the Dolphins in their Monday Night Football matchup against the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Our consensus reports at press time show 57 percent support for Miami as a 1-point road favorite (–125). 

Purple Haze 

It looks like Miami’s troubles extend beyond the loss of two offensive linemen. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, citing multiple sources, Incognito was told this past spring by Dolphins coaches to “toughen up” Jonathan Martin and “get him into the fold” after the two-time All-American tackle missed two days of voluntary OTA workouts. This puts Incognito’s actions in a different light – a light that makes the entire Dolphins organization look ugly 

It seems inevitable that the NFL will step in and conduct a thorough Bullygate investigation, and if it goes anything like the Bountygate scandal, Philbin will be made to fall on his sword. The fact that Miami is about to appear on MNF (8:30 p.m., ESPN) will only add to the public pressure. The Fish are going to have a hard time concentrating on football this week.

Fire Two

You couldn’t have gift-wrapped a better present for Greg Schiano. For the first time this season, the spotlight is off the embattled Buccaneers coach, who has also been roundly criticized for his old-school way of dealing with players. It’s something of a miracle Schiano hasn’t already been fired; his team is winless at 0-8 SU and 2-6 ATS, cut down by disarray, injuries, and a potentially dangerous staph infection that has affected three players so far.

Yes, but what have you done for me lately? The Bucs are coming off a 27-24 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks, easily beating the NFL odds as 16-point road dogs. QB Mike Glennon (123.1 passer rating vs. Seattle) and RB Mike James (5.6 yards per carry) were both outstanding against the No. 2-ranked defense in the league. And Tampa Bay’s defense helped create three Seattle turnovers – taking advantage of the Seahawks and their own issues on the offensive line.

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Ryan’s Fancy 

The Dolphins also showed some improvement in their Week 9 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals (–3 away), winning 22-20 in overtime when DE Cameron Wake sacked QB Andy Dalton in the end zone. That made it nine points for the Miami defense – CB Brent Grimes returned an interception 94 yards to the house in the third quarter. Miami’s offense? It had its moments. QB Ryan Tannehill (92.6 passer rating vs. Cincy) didn’t find the end zone, but he connected on 20 of his 28 passes without a pick, while RB Lamar Miller romped for 105 yards on 16 carries. 

The win snapped a four-game losing skid for the Fish, both SU and ATS, and for just a minute there, everything was Camelot. Then the whole Bullygate thing came a-tumblin’ down the hill. Despite their won-loss records, there isn’t that much difference between these two teams; Miami has 4.0 Estimated Wins on the season compared to 2.7 for Tampa Bay, which has played the second-most difficult schedule in the NFL according to Football Outsiders. Perhaps the prolate spheroid is finally bouncing Tampa Bay’s way and we can take advantage for our NFL picks

NFL Pick: Take the Bucs +1 (+115)