Los Angeles Rams vs. Miami Dolphins
Sunday, November 1st, 2020 – 1:00 ET at Hard Rock Stadium
The 5-2 Rams travel across the country to Miami to take on a 3-3 Dolphins team, starting their rookie QB for the first time. It’s the 4th trip to the East coast for the Rams this season, winning 3 and a close loss to the Dolphins’ AFC East rivals, the Bills. The Dolphins have wins against the Jaguars, Jets and 49ers.
Can the Rams Keep Pace in the NFC West?
The NFC West is proving to be one of the more competitive divisions in the league this year with all four teams above 0.500 as we hit the halfway point of the season. The Seahawks, after losing to the Cardinals last week, are at the top on 5-1, the Cards and Rams at 5-2, and the 49ers are still in with a shout at 4-3 and will play the Seahawks this week, despite being decimated by injury.
There’s reasons for optimism for the Rams, they’ve bounced back well after a poor season last year where their offensive line couldn’t keep Goff clean. However, there’s reasons to be sceptical as well, as 4 of their 5 wins this season have come against the NFC East, which is proving to be the worst division we’ve seen in many years. You can only beat what’s in front of you, but they’ve had it easy so far.
They have made a few trips across the country so far, though, with three wins and a narrow loss to the Bills which they would have won had it not been for a PI call at the end of the game. They are also one of the better-coached teams in the league with McVay at the helm. They’ve got talent on offense and defense with Darrel Henderson and Malcolm Brown leading the way on the ground and Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods usually putting up yards through the air.
Aaron Donald is possibly the best player in the league, not just the best defender, and Jalen Ramsey considers himself the best at cornerback as well. It’s a well-balanced roster and Aaron Donald will be looking to get after the rookie QB in this one.
How Will Tua Do on Debut?
It looks like the plan was always going to be for Tua Tagovailoa to start this game after giving him the bye week to prepare for it. They have been playing well on offense with Ryan Fitzpatrick loving life at QB this season. They’ve put up points, picked up wins, and are in with a realistic shot of making the playoffs, according to NFL oddsmakers. This is why the switch has confused a few people. For me, it makes sense, they won’t make the playoffs, they won’t win the division and this was always going to be a multi-year rebuild for the team. Tua is the future. See what you’ve got.
What do they have then? Well he’s the first lefty the league has had for many a year, that alone will give him a bit of an advantage as it’s something that teams aren’t used to. He’ll roll out the opposite way, it will look weird for a while but he’s got the talent to make any throw out there.
His college career was cut short by injury, but before that he was expected to be the #1 pick in the draft, throwing for 33 TDs at a 71% completion rate in his final year in college for Alabama. Providing the injury hasn’t put him off running the ball, he’s mobile too, so he should fit in with how the league is going in 2020.
Who’s Going to Win?
Backing a rookie QB in his first start isn’t a good look. Especially when he’s going up against a good Rams defense with an elite pass rusher and is behind a below-average offensive line. I think Tua will be great in the long run but maybe not in his first start.
The Rams have covered the spread in 4 of their 7 games with totals going under in 5 of those 7. The Dolphins have covered 3 of their 6 games with totals under in 4 of them as well, so it makes sense to look to the under here in the best sportsbooks.
However, despite the shorter rest, and the Dolphins coming off the bye, I’m going for the road team. They know how to make this trip and Donald will cause Tua a lot of issues.