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NFL Week 8 – Thursday Service Plays 10/29/15

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    Red-hot Dolphins face undefeated Pats Thursday
    By Phil Burton


    Kickoff: Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET
    Line: New England -7.5, Total: 51.5

    The unbeaten Patriots look for a 7-0 start to the season when they host the AFC East foe Dolphins on Thursday night.

    Since a humiliating 27-14 loss to the Jets in London on Oct. 4 that cost head coach Joe Philbin his job, Miami (3-3 ATS) has played inspired football under interim head coach Dan Campbell with a pair of blowout wins at Tennessee (38-10) and versus Houston (44-26) last week when the team led 41-0 at halftime. New England (3-1-2 ATS) has won all six of its games by at least seven points, including a 30-23 victory over the division rival Jets last week. The home team has prevailed in five straight meetings in this series (SU and ATS) and the Dolphins have suffered six straight losses (2-4 ATS) in Foxboro, including a 41-13 shellacking from the Patriots last season. Most of the betting trends expect another New England win and cover, such as its 11-2 ATS record since the start of last season when coming off a game where 50+ points were scored and Bill Belichick’s 32-16 ATS mark versus teams averaging 6+ yards per play as the team’s head coach. But Miami is 39-23 ATS on the road after a 2-1 ATS stretch since 1992, and is 8-2 ATS versus excellent passing teams (260+ YPG) over the past three seasons. With the short week, both teams have some injury concerns with two Dolphins defenders questionable in DT A.J. Francis (back) and CB Bobby McCain (knee) and four key Patriots donning the similar questionable tag in top RB Dion Lewis (abdominal), LB Jabaal Sheard (ankle),OT Marcus Cannon (toe) and OL Shaquille Mason (knee).

    The one clear edge Miami has in this game is its rushing attack, as the club averages 118 YPG on 5.3 YPC, compared to New England’s 84 YPG on 3.9 YPC. In the past two weeks, the Dolphins have run for 428 yards on 67 carries (6.4 YPC). Fourth-year RB Lamar Miller (419 rush yds, 6.0 YPC, 2 TD) is coming off a monster afternoon against Houston where he rushed for 175 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries (12.5 YPC) while adding 61 receiving yards and another score. Miller did not play well in Foxboro last year with 47 yards on 16 carries (2.9 YPC), but he did pile up 78 yards and a touchdown when Miami defeated the Patriots at home in 2014. QB Ryan Tannehill is also coming off a huge performance against Houston when he completed 18-of-19 throws for 282 yards (14.8 YPA), 4 TD and 0 INT. That gives him 271 passing YPG, 13 TD and 7 INT for the season. The fourth-year pro is 2-4 in his career in this series, where he has completed only 57% of his throws for 242 YPG, 8 TD and 6 INT. The Miami defense has actually played better on the road (17.5 PPG allowed) than at home (22.8 PPG allowed), but it is still allowing too many first downs (21.5 per game) leading to a 32:13 average time of possession. While the passing defense is surrendering 240 YPG on 6.8 YPA, the run-stop unit hasn’t been much better with opponents rushing for 129 YPG on 4.1 YPC. But after forcing only one turnover during a three-game losing skid, the Dolphins have five takeaways during their two-game win surge. However, they are facing a franchise that rarely makes mistakes with just three giveaways all season, including one in the past four games combined.

    New England has scored at least 28 points in all six games this season, averaging 35.5 PPG on 411 total YPG. But most of this production has been due to the stellar play of QB Tom Brady through the air, as the ground game has only 3.9 YPC (3.4 YPC at home) and is coming off a 9-carry, 16-yard showing against the Jets. Brady has been nearly perfect in 2015, completing 69% of his throws for 342 YPG (8.2 YPA), 16 TD and just 1 INT. He’s also had his share of success against the Dolphins with a 16-6 record, 236 passing YPG, 41 TD and 18 INT. During his team’s five-game home win streak versus Miami, Brady has thrown for 238 YPG, eight touchdowns and only two picks. In 2015, he has thrown TD passes to seven different receivers with TE Rob Gronkowski (533 rec yds, 6 TD) and WR Julian Edelman (503 rec yds, 4 TD) already more than halfway to 1,000 yards in just six games. In the blowout win versus Miami last season, the duo combined for 10 catches and 184 yards and each scored a touchdown. The Patriots defense has given up a bunch of yards (359 total YPG), but has allowed only 21.0 PPG. The run-stop unit needs to improve its 4.5 YPC allowed, and the secondary has to trim its 248 YPG on 63% completions and 6.5 YPA. New England has done a decent job in forcing mistakes with eight takeaways so far this season, and has a powerful enough pass rush (21 sacks) to be able to pressure Tannehill, who has been sacked 16 times this season.

    • This topic was modified 6 years, 11 months ago by admin.

    NFL Week 8 Essentials
    By Tony Mejia

    Here comes Week Snowman. No. 8 should be great, continuing to ramp things up since there appear to be only a limited amount of teams harboring playoff aspirations.

    Miami at New England: Count on reigniting the ground game being a major part of the plan for the undefeated Patriots after an uneven performance against the Jets. Running back Dion Lewis was inactive on Sunday and would give the offense a boost if he’s available after an abdomen injury. Lewis practiced Tuesday. The Dolphins have blown out a pair of opponents to begin the Dan Campbell era but are facing their biggest challenge here, one that will answer questions about how the coaching staff matches up. As has been the case the past two weeks, Miami’s pass rush will play a huge role if we’re going to see an upset bid. Cameron Wake and Ndamakong Suh could feast on the Patriots revamped offensive line, but Brady’s ability to get rid of the ball quickly will likely neutralize that potential disadvantage.


    2015 NFL

    Week 8
    Dolphins (3-3) @ Patriots (6-0)
    — Miami is 2-0 under interim coach Campbell, running ball for 428 yards, completing 84% of passes, but that was vs Titans/Texans. Dolphins are 0-6 in last six visits to Foxboro, with five losses by 10+ points- they did beat Patriots last two years in Miami. Patriots are 27-20-2 as home favorites since ’09 (1-0-2 this year) winning by 7-34-7 points. In last four games, NE foes started 36 of 41 drives 80+ yards from goal line; they’re dominating field position. Since ’07, Dolphins are 34-19-2 as road underdogs (1-0 this year). Pats won last four Thursday games (2-2 vs spread); Miami lost three of last five Thursday tilts. Over is 4-1 in last five games for both teams; Miami scored TD on defense in each of their last two games.


    Tech Trends – Week 8
    By Bruce Marshall

    MIAMI at NEW ENGLAND (CBS/NFL Network, 8:30 p.m. ET)
    Dan Campbell 2-0 SU and vs. line as Dolphins HC, and Miami has actually won 2 of last 3 SU vs. Patriots. Though Belichick 6-0 SU, 5-1 last five vs. spread at Foxborough vs. Miami. Pats “over” 58-28 last 86 reg.-season games and “under” 6-4 last ten vs. Dolphins.

    Tech Edge: “Over” and slight to Patriots, based on “totals” and series trends.


    NFL Football Betting Trends – Thursday – Oct, 29

    Miami at New England, 8:25 ET
    Miami: 66-91 ATS versus division opponents
    New England: 6-0 ATS in home games off a home win



    4* (102) Dolphins +9


    Pats’ Belichick vs. Dolphins’ Campbell — matchup or mismatch?

    DAVIE, Fla. — The coaching matchup between the New England Patriots’ multiple Super Bowl veteran Bill Belichick and Miami Dolphins interim hopeful Dan Campbell is almost as intriguing as the on-field matchup between players.

    Campbell, whose theme of competitive practices has jolted the Dolphins into impressive back-to-back victories, is entering his third NFL game as a head coach.

    Belichick, who has won four Super Bowls and dominated the AFC East for about a dozen years, is considered one of the NFL’s best coaches ever.

    Who gets the advantage? It’s tough to say because Campbell is such an unknown quantity.

    But listen to how much emphasis Patriots quarterback Tom Brady puts on coaching.

    “Coaching is hugely important to the success of an NFL team,” Brady said, “and I’m fortunate to play for the one that I feel is the best of all time. There’s really no way it can be (overstated), how important it is.”

    If Brady is talking strictly Xs and Os, Belichick gets a huge advantage.

    But if Brady is also taking emotion into account, considering how Dolphins players have responded to Campbell so far, maybe he could coach his team to an improbable victory.

    –Miami’s defense has been a big-play crew for the last two weeks, and the pass rush, led by defensive end Cam Wake, has been among the featured attractions.

    New England has allowed 16 sacks this season, tied for 16th-most in the NFL, so there’s hope the defensive line could get to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, one of the quickest decision-makers in the league.

    Brady said his offensive line has done a good job.

    “We see a lot of games and twists,” he said. “Everyone is obviously trying to get to the quarterback all the time, but we’ve been faced with a lot of challenges and I think those guys have really stepped up to it.”

    Miami hopes it can get to Brady, but interim coach Dan Campbell realizes the games and twists might not be as successful as strong 1-on-1 play.

    “There’s only so much you can do,” Campbell said of rushing Brady, “and everything has been done at one time or another, he’s seen all of it.

    “At some point you just have to lineup and play football and ultimately that’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to play our style of football and do our best to try to at least contain him or limit him.”

    “They try to find a weakness. They exploit it and then they will repeat it over and over and over.”

    –One thing Miami wants to focus on against New England on Thursday is playing a complete game. Two years ago, the Dolphins had a 17-3 halftime lead over the Patriots but lost, 27-17. Last year the Dolphins took a 14-13 deficit into halftime but eventually lost, 41-13.

    New England, in recent years, has put pressure on Miami on offense, defense, special teams and coaching.

    One slip, and it seems that’s all it takes for an avalanche of Patriots key plays and, eventually, a victory, especially at Gillette Stadium, where New England has a six-game winning streak over Miami.

    The Dolphins know they need a complete game.

    “They’re a good team,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “They’re coached well, they execute, they play well and you have to be on the top of your game for the entire game.

    “If you play three good quarters and have one bad quarter, then nine times out of 10 they’re going to beat you. We have to play a full game from start to finish and execute the entire game.”

    –Cornerback Brice McCain (knee) was limited in Tuesday’s practice and said he’s “questionable” for Thursday’s game. Look for rookie Bobby McCain to play the slot in the nickel defense is Brice McCain doesn’t play. Cornerback Brent Grimes (knee) was limited in Tuesday’s practice but it appears Grimes will be OK to play against New England.

    Also cornerback Zack Bowman (shoulder) was limited in Tuesday’s practice but seems on pace to play Thursday. Bowman has been a key special teams player and with McCain ailing, may need to play from scrimmage.

    –Center Mike Pouncey (hip) went through the full practice Tuesday and shouldn’t have any issues Thursday at New England. Pouncey was a key to the Dolphins handling Houston defensive tackle Vince Wilfork last week. He will be helping left guard Dallas Thomas and right guard Billy Turner pick up an anticipated flurry of blitzes against the Patriots.

    –Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (ankle), who is developing into a key rotation player, went through the full practice Tuesday and should be fine for Thursday’s game at New England.


    Thursday Night Football Betting Preview

    Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-8, 50.5)

    A change in head coaches has been akin to a magic wand for the revitalized Miami Dolphins, who have rolled up 82 points in romping to a pair of lopsided victories since Dan Campbell replaced the fired Joe Philbin. The Dolphins may need some magic when they head north to visit Tom Brady and the undefeated New England Patriots in an AFC East matchup on Thursday night.

    Miami had lost three in a row and failed to score more than 20 points in each of its first four games before Philbin was let go, but it has responded to the change with a 38-10 romp at Tennessee before a 44-26 mauling of Houston on Sunday. “You look at our work out there and it really was a team effort,” Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill said after leading his team to a 41-0 halftime lead over the Texans on Sunday. New England rallied from a 20-16 fourth-quarter deficit to beat the visiting New York Jets 30-23 in a showdown for division supremacy. The Patriots, who are averaging a league-best 35.5 points, have won eight of the last 10 meetings versus Miami.

    TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, CBS, NFL Network.

    LINE HISTORY: The Patriots opened as 8.5-point home favorites and have been bet down slightly to the current number of New England -8. The total has been bet down from 51.5 to 50.5.


    Miami (-2) – Patriots (-9.5) + home field (-3) = Patriots -10.5


    Miami – CB B. McCain (probable Thursday, knee), CB B. Grimes (probable Thursday, knee), C M. Pouncey (probable Thursday, hip), LB S. Paysinger (probable Thursday, groin), DB Z. Bowman (probable Thursday, shoulder), DT A. Francis (questionable Thursday, back).

    Patriots – OL S. Mason (questionable Thursday, knee), RB B. Bolden (questionable Thursday, knee), RB D. Lewis (questionable Thursday, abdominal), WR K. Martin (questionable Thursday, hamstring), OL M. Cannon (out Thursday, toe).


    It will be partly cloudy around kickoff, but should clear up throughout the evening. There is just a 10 percent chance of rain and with temperatures in the low 50’s. There will also be an eight mile per hour wind blowing across the field.

    ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (3-3, 3-3 ATS, 4-2 O/U): Tannehill compiled a perfect passer rating of 158.3 while going 18-of-19 for 282 yards with four touchdowns while establishing an NFL record with 25 consecutive completions over a two-game span. The biggest beneficiary of the coaching change has been running back Lamar Miller, who averaged 32.8 yards rushing in his first four games before putting up 113 yards against Tennessee and 175 versus Houston while scoring in both games. The Dolphins have also come alive on the other side of the ball by recording nine of their sacks over the past two games.

    ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (6-0, 3-2-1 ATS, 4-2 O/U): Facing a Jets defense that ranked among the league leaders in nearly every category, New England eschewed the run and put the ball in the hands of Brady, who threw for 355 yards and a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. Brady, who became the fifth QB in league history to surpass 55,000 yards, has 16 TD passes versus one interception and his favorite targets are Julian Edelman (45 receptions, four TDs) and behemoth tight end Rob Gronkowski, who already has six receiving scores. The Patriots are allowing 21 points per game but rank fourth in the league with 21 sacks.


    * Home team is 6-0 ATS in the last six meetings.

    * Favorites are 4-1 ATS in their five meetings.

    * Under is 6-0-1 in the Dolphins last seven Thursday games.

    * Over is 4-1 in Patriots last five games overall.

    CONSENSUS: The public is fairly split for this AFC East showdown, with 53. 38 percent of wagers backing the Patriots.


    Resurgent Dolphins in ultimate TNF test vs. Pats

    DAVIE, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins, surging with confidence and competitive juices since interim coach Dan Campbell took over three weeks ago, get their biggest test of this revived season in a Thursday night visit to New England against the undefeated, defending Super Bowl champion Patriots.

    The Dolphins (3-3) won-back-to-back games in impressive fashion under Campbell, hammering Tennessee, 38-10, and pounding Houston, 44-26.

    And if they have any hopes of clawing back into the playoff picture, they need to win this pivotal AFC East matchup.

    These are good times for the Dolphins, whose overhaul has been both physical and mental.

    The running game, led by running back Lamar Miller, is revitalized. He has 288 yards rushing in the last two weeks.

    The passing game, led by quarterback Ryan Tannehill and wide receivers Rishard Matthews and Jarvis Landry, is a big-play machine, producing three touchdowns of 50 or more yards last week in the first half alone.

    And the defense, led by end Cam Wake, strong safety Reshad Jones and tackle Ndamukong Suh, is a disruptive, game-changing unit.

    But the players mostly credit the muscular, high-energy Campbell, the former tight ends coach, for the turnaround.

    “Dan’s enthusiasm and passion for the game, his energy and competitive drive is just contagious,” Tannehill said, “and it’s transferred over to the team and we’ve been really playing that way lately.”

    New England (6-0) presents a different set of challenges, however.

    The Patriots average a NFL-best 35.5 points per game and quarterback Tom Brady (16 touchdowns, one interception, 113.2 passer rating) is having a phenomenal season.

    Tight end Rob Gronkowski, wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, and running backs Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount put a lot of pressure on defenses.

    On the other side of the ball, Patriots coach Bill Belichick is known for taking away something offenses do best and making them adjust on the fly, and that’ll probably happen again.

    No one is sure how the new-look Dolphins and their coaching staff will react if that scenario unfolds.

    For Miami, Thursday’s game is about a lot of things — getting back into the playoff picture, keeping their confidence and momentum going, showing the real Dolphins are the team of the last two weeks and not the team of the first four weeks, etc.

    But Campbell thinks it’s mostly about the players, and not the spark he’s brought since being named interim coach.

    “Once you light a fire, then you can’t put it out as long as the players continue to feed that fire, and that’s what you’re looking for,” he said.

    “That’s why the team we’re getting ready to play, the New England Patriots, has been so good. Of course they’ve got good players, smart players, but also they have passion, they play with passion, and that’s what we’ve got to get to.”

    SERIES HISTORY: 97th regular season meeting. Miami leads series, 52-44. The Patriots won the last meeting, 41-13. Before that, Miami had won back-to-back games against New England in the 2014 opener, and a 24-20 decision in December 2013. The Patriots, however, have a six-game win streak over Miami at Gillette Stadium.

    GAMEPLAN: Miami must have its defense play its best game of the season against New England, which averages a NFL-best 35.5 points per game.

    There’s an outside chance the Dolphins, who have averaged 41 points per game the last two weeks, could outscore the Patriots, but it’s doubtful.

    The best plan for Miami is to use its defensive line to disrupt New England quarterback Tom Brady, and be sure to tackle so the Patriots don’t rack up lots of YAC (yards after catch). An interception or two would be greatly helpful.

    Offensively, the Dolphins must run the ball effectively and have quarterback Ryan Tannehill continue to get the ball into the hands of the playmakers as quickly as possible.

    Miami would love to impose its will on New England, but most likely this game will come down to how well Miami reacts to what New England does.


    –Miami run game, led by RB Lamar Miller, vs. New England’s run defense, which is 16th in the NFL. Miller, who had an 85-yard run last week against Houston, has helped Miami establish a physical presence at the beginning of games.

    The Miami offensive line has also done a good job of blasting open holes. If New England limits Miami’s running game, almost all hope of a Dolphins victory is eliminated. This is a crucial matchup.

    –Miami defensive line, led by DE Cam Wake, vs. New England QB Tom Brady, who has a slew of dangerous weapons.

    Wake has six sacks, including three strip/sacks, in the last two weeks. He had a critical strip/sack against Brady two years ago in a Miami victory. Brady can choose among TE Rob Gronkowski and WRs Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, which, on the surface, outweighs the Dolphins’ secondary. So getting a pass rush on Brady, led by Wake, who is among the hottest defenders in the NFL right now, is essential.



    60 Winner #33 of 51

    OVER – Dolphins at Patriots



    Football Crusher
    Miami Dolphins +7.5
    over New England Patriots
    (System Record: 20-2, won last 3 games)
    Overall Record: 20-19-1



    NEW ENGLAND (-8) 30 Miami 19

    The Patriots are going to be very difficult to beat in this spot and are clearly the best team in the league right now. Tom Brady is operating at a different level with a passing offense that is generating an average of 327 passing yards at 7.4 yps against teams that allow 255 passing yards at 6.4 yps. He’ll face a below average Miami defense that is allowing 6.5 yps to teams that average 6.1 yps and as a result I expect Brady to continue his amazing play. While Miami has played much better the past two weeks since Dan Campbell took over, it’s important to remember who the Dolphins beat: the Texans and the Titans, two of the worst teams in the league right now. This is a huge step up in class and on a short week with little prep time and travel, Miami is going to have a difficult time keeping up in this game.

    Miami will need to rely on their resurgent run game that is averaging 118 rushing yards at 5.6 ypr against teams that allow 110 rushing yards at 4.4 ypr to control the clock and score points. Much like the Jets last week, if they implement a ball control offense and can grind out yards against a Pats defense that can be run on, they may have a shot at keeping this one within the number.

    I don’t have any situations in play but my model favors the Patriots by 12.0 points. I’ll lean with the Pats.






    NE Patriots

    UNDER – Dolphins / Patriots




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