NFL Picks for Jets vs. Dolphins

Jason Lake

Monday, December 23, 2013 2:05 PM GMT

The New York Jets won’t make the playoffs this year. But the Miami Dolphins might, if they can beat the Jets and get some help. The early NFL odds have Miami laying 6.5 points at home.

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to December 21 inclusive:

39-31-2 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

9-17-1 Totals

Yes, Miami, there is a Santa Claus. The Dolphins had their backs up against the wall this past Sunday after losing 19-0 to the Buffalo Bills, dropping the cash as 1-point road dogs and falling to 8-7 (9-6 ATS). That loss put Miami on the brink of playoff elimination, but the Baltimore Ravens also lost their game against the New England Patriots. The Fish can still make the postseason with a Week 17 victory over the New York Jets, and a little help from elsewhere. Okay, a lot of help.

First, the Fish have to take care of business at home. The Jets (7-8 SU, 8-6-1 ATS) won’t make the playoffs this year, but they can still play the spoiler against their AFC East rivals, and a win over Miami might be enough to save head coach Rex Ryan’s job. The early Week 17 lines have Miami laying 6.5 points with a total of 41.

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Fish Egg

It’s sure been a heck of a year for the Dolphins. They were 3-0 SU and ATS to start the 2013 campaign, then they honked four games in a row right before the Richie Incognito Incident, which did a number on Miami’s offensive line. But the Fish didn’t collapse. Instead, they rallied to go 5-2 SU and 6-1 ATS leading into that incredibly important matchup against the Bills – where they laid a giant goose egg. QB Ryan Tannehill was sacked seven times, and Miami only managed six first downs on 103 total yards of offense.

The warm-weather Dolphins can’t blame Old Man Winter for their performance, either. It was about as nice as Buffalo gets in late December; temperatures were above freezing, and the skies were overcast. Of course, that’s nothing compared to what’s in store this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) at Sun Life Stadium, where it’s expected to be in the high 70s. There is a 20 percent chance of rain, though. Don’t forget to keep updated on the weather reports leading up to kick-off.

Also make sure to check out our:

NFL Picks: Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots

J-Fence

Unless it starts raining offensive linemen, the Dolphins could be in big trouble. The Jets had the No. 12-ranked defense in the league (No. 22 pass, No. 1 rush) going into their Week 16 game against the Cleveland Browns (+2.5 at home), and they were up in QB Jason Campbell’s grill all day, sacking him three times and picking him off twice in a 24-13 victory. Cleveland’s offensive line was No. 17 in adjusted sack rate (7.4 percent) before the Jets came to town. Miami’s O-line was No. 29 (8.9 percent) before getting sliced open by the Bills.

Having said all that, the Dolphins can definitely turn the tables around on defense, as they did when they beat New York 23-3 in Week 13 as 1-point road dogs. Three sacks and three turnovers helped hold the Jets to 177 total yards. New York’s moribund offense was No. 31 overall (No. 31 pass, No. 27 rush) before the Cleveland victory; Miami’s defense ranked No. 16 overall (No. 11 pass, No. 29 rush).

One thing about that Week 13 game: New York bailed on QB Geno Smith (62.9 passer rating) after the first half and replaced him with Matt Simms (63.4 passer rating). That experiment didn’t last long. If anything, it seems to have lit a fire under Smith, who has enjoyed three of his better games as a rookie since the benching. He’s getting a lot more burn on the ground, too, including 10 carries for 48 yards and a touchdown versus the Browns. That’s the version of Geno Smith that could lead the Jets to success in the near future. Let’s see if Ryan loves his job enough to let Geno be Geno this Sunday.

NFL Pick: Take the Jets +6.5 at Pinnacle