Dolphins vs. Patriots Odds & Picks: Back Sunday’s Home Favorite
Getty Images. Pictured: Tua Tagovailoa
Dolphins vs. Patriots Odds
The Miami Dolphins can essentially end the New England Patriots‘ playoff hopes — and keep their own alive — with a win on Sunday.
The Dolphins lost to the Chiefs last week, but were able to pick off Patrick Mahomes three times. With the Ravens winning on Monday night, they’re now tied with the Dolphins at 8-5, though Miami holds the tiebreaker with a better conference record to hold onto the seventh and final spot in the AFC heading into Sunday. The Ravens have a favorable matchup against the Jaguars, though, so the Dolphins absolutely need a win to maintain that position.
It’s pretty simple for the Patriots: They need to win out to have any shot at making the playoffs. They were blown out by the Rams on Thursday Night Football last week, so the Patriots need to do better than three points of offense if they want to have any chance at beating the Dolphins.
With a very short spread, I like Miami’s chances to cover as a home favorite.
New England Patriots
Cam Newton has really struggled since arriving in New England. He’s averaging only 7.2 yards per passing attempt and has five touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. That has led the Patriots to the bottom half of the NFL in passing success and explosiveness (per Sharp Football Stats).
The Pats are really missing wide receiver Julian Edelman, who is currently on injured reserve. But the bread and butter of their offense is the run game.
The Patriots are top-15 in rushing success rate and explosiveness, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. And while it’s been a rotating cast at running back and will continue to be with Damien Harris out again, Miami’s defensive weakness is against the run, so expect a heavy dose of Cam Newton and Co. on the ground.
The 2020 Patriots defense sure doesn’t look like a Bill Belichick-led unit
They’re in the bottom eight in both defensive rushing and passing success. To make matters worse, they’ve been one of the worst teams in the NFL against the pass this season. They’re allowing 7.5 yards per passing attempt and are second-to-last in passing explosiveness allowed. The Dolphins offense is top-10 in passing success, so the Patriots secondary may be in store for a long day.
Belichick has a ridiculous record against rookie quarterbacks and former assistants. But in my opinion, all of those stats should be thrown out the window because he had Tom Brady as his quarterback for all of those games.
The reason the Dolphins are in a position to potentially make the playoffs is because of their offense.
Thanks to Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins rank seventh in passing success, per Sharp Football Stats. However, they’ve struggled to break off big plays in the passing game, as they rank 27th in explosive passing.
That said, the Dolphins could be without their top wideouts and tight end — DeVante Parker, Jakeem Grant and Mike Gesicki are all listed as questionable — so they may have to lean on their run game. And Miami hasn’t had a consistent rushing attack due to a number of injuries in the backfield.
Despite all of that, the Dolphins still rank in the top half of the league in rushing success and explosiveness. New England ranks near the bottom in rushing success allowed, so Miami should have no problem moving the ball through air and on the ground.
The Dolphins have an opportunistic defense, ranking fourth in the NFL with 17 takeaways this season.
Xavien Howard leads the league with nine interceptions and has a chance to be the first defensive player to record double-digit interceptions since Antonio Cromartie in 2007. Outside of that, their defense hasn’t been great, especially against the run.
The Dolphins are in the bottom half in defensive rushing success and explosiveness. However, they’ve stepped up the last three games, allowing only 3.5 yards per attempt. They’ll need to continue their high level of play if they are going shut down the Patriots’ rushing attack.
The Dolphins’ secondary has been the strength of their defense, allowing only 7.1 yards per pass attempt. They should be able to dominate this game, given how bad Newton has been throwing the ball this season.
This is a must-win game for both teams, but the Dolphins have been playing much better football than the Patriots over their last three games.
When you think of a Belichick defense, you probably think of it as being one of the best in NFL. However, this season has been a different story, especially in the secondary.
I have the Dolphins favored by about three points at home, so there’s value on them at -1, and I would play them up to -1.5 (shop real-time lines here).
Pick: Dolphins -1