If the once again struggling Dolphins have any shot at an AFC wild-card spot, they almost surely can't afford a loss at the Eagles on Sunday. Philly is a 6-point favorite on Pinnacle's NFL odds with a total of 46.5 points.
Playoffs Not Likely For Dolphins
Miami (3-5) looked rejuvenated after firing Coach Joe Philbin following a Week 4 loss in London to the Jets. Interim coach Dan Campbell had the players recharged and they responded with a 38-10 win in Tennessee in Week 6 and 44-26 rout over Houston in Week 7.
Clearly that was fool's gold against two bad teams and now quite as clearly, Campbell isn't going to get the full-time job. Miami went to New England in Week 8 and was dominated 36-7. And then last week in Buffalo it was more of the same in a 33-17 defeat. The Bills, not exactly a dominant offensive team, had 420 total yards and 266 rushing, with both LeSean McCoy and rookie Karlos Williams rushing for at least 110 yards. Fins running back Lamar Miller did have two TDs but was held to 44 yards -- his second straight low rushing total after two big initial games under Campbell. Ryan Tannehill threw for 309 yards against the Bills but didn't find the end zone.
The Dolphins' problems are many but one big one is run defense, which really shouldn't be the case after the team signed Pro Bowl free-agent defensive tackle Ndaumkong Suh to a massive contract this offseason. Miami is on pace to allow 2,274 rushing yards, which is way worse than the 1,937 rushing yards it allowed last season. Suh is generally being double-teamed now, especially since Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake was lost for the season against New England.
At 3-5, it's a long shot for the Dolphins to make the playoffs. Only seven percent of teams that started 3-5 since 1990 have made the playoffs. Teams that were .500 at the midway point in the season have a 30.6 percent chance of making the playoffs by comparison. At worst, Miami probably has to go 6-2 the rest of the way to make it. The rest of the schedule after this game: vs. Cowboys, at Jets, vs. Ravens, vs. Giants, at Chargers, vs. Colts, vs. Patriots. I don't see Miami even finishing with a .500 record.
Miami is 3-5 against the spread on NFL odds and 5-3 'over/under.'
Eagles In Good Shape For NFC East Title
Philadelphia (4-4) came out of its bye week on Sunday night and sent the Dallas Cowboys to their sixth straight loss, 33-27 in overtime. A win is a win, obviously, especially on the road. But the Eagles shouldn't have to go to overtime against a team quarterbacked by Matt Cassel.
Sam Bradford won the game by hitting Jordan Matthews on a 41-yard touchdown pass at the 10:59 mark of OT. Maybe the bye week really helped Bradford as he was 25-for-36 for 295 yards a touchdown and, most important, no interceptions -- they have been a problem. Matthews caught nine passes for 133 yards and that score. Coach Chip Kelly clearly put a greater emphasis on the running game as DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews each had at least 11 carries, 67 yards and a touchdown.
The news wasn't all good from the Dallas win. Linebacker Jordan Hicks, who had a 67-yard interception return for a touchdown and was in the Defensive Rookie of the Year conversation, was lost for the season to a torn pectoral muscle. Rookie receiver Nelson Agholor missed the Cowboys game with a high-ankle sprain but should play against Miami. Left tackle Jason Peters also missed the Dallas game with back problems and he's questionable for the Dolphins.
Philly is a half-game behind the Giants for the NFC East lead. But the Giants’ seven remaining opponents have a combined .661 winning percentage (37-19) while the Eagles' eight remaining opponents are at .507, a combined 33-32 record. Philadelphia is 4-4 ATS on NFL picks and 2-6 O/U.
Philly won its third straight over Miami, 26-10 in south Florida on Dec. 11, 2011. Michael Vick was the Eagles' QB then and threw for 208 yards and a touchdown to DeSean Jackson (now with Redskins). McCoy, now with the Bills, rushed for two scores. The Fins used Matt Moore and J.P. Losman at QB that day and they combined to go 17-for-29 for 95 yards with a TD and pick. They were sacked a combined nine times. Tannehill was still at Texas A&M. Miami hasn't won a game in Philadelphia since 1996.
NFL Picks: Give the points, especially while under 7 at Pinnacle, and go 'under' 46.5. Miami is 2-5 in its past seven road games. It is 2-9 ATS in its past 11 following a loss of more than 14 points. The Eagles are 8-1 ATS in their past nine November games. The 'under' is 11-4-1 in Miami's past 16 in November. The 'under' is 5-0 in Philly's past five after a win.