Patriots vs. Dolphins Odds, Picks, Predictions: Bet On New England’s Defense To Shine In NFL Week 18 Matchup
Billie Weiss/Getty Images. Pictured: Matthew Judon.
- The latest Patriots vs. Dolphins odds are holding fast with New England as a 6-point favorite in Week 18, even though the total has increased since yesterday.
- Can Mac Jones and Co. cover that spread? Our analyst is betting on it. Find his predictions and pick in the betting preview below.
|Time||4:25 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
The Patriots were able to rebound after two tough losses by laying a beat down on the Jaguars. In dominating fashion, the Patriots got out to a 28-3 lead by the half and never looked back, winning 50-10. New England technically has a chance at winning the AFC North so it will play its starters. Its chance does depend on the Jets beating Buffalo though, so it might be better to consider it a dream.
On the other hand, Miami snapped its seven-game winning streak with a 34-3 loss to the Titans. This put a dagger in the Dolphins’ playoff hopes. However, there is nothing like beating a divisional rival, especially a team that dominated your division, to end the year.
Let’s take a deep dive and see if the Patriots can build some momentum before the playoffs, or if Miami can enter the offseason on a high note and with a winning record.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Patriots vs. Dolphins Injury Report
- WR Jakobi Meyers (thigh): Questionable
- RB Damian Harris (hamstring): Questionable
- OT Isaiah Wynn (hip): Questionable
The Dolphins have no players listed as out, doubtful or questionable for Week 18.
Patriots vs. Dolphins Matchup
|Patriots Offense||DVOA Rank||Dolphins Defense|
|Patriots Defense||DVOA Rank||Dolphins Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Patriots Defense Is Key To Success
Despite being led by a rookie quarterback, the Patriots have had one of the better offenses this season. They rank 11th in yards per drive and fourth in points per drive.
Their success has been predicated on their rushing game. They rank eighth in rushing yards and third in rushing touchdowns. Those excellent numbers come from their one-two punch of Damian Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson making life difficult for defenders. Harris and Stevenson have led the Patriots to the fifth-most yards after contact per carry, per Pro-Football-Reference.
While the running game has carried the load, the passing game has been no slouch when called upon. New England’s passing game ranks 11th in net yards per game. Mac Jones still can’t be trusted to throw 40 times a game, but he has shown he can do just enough.
The biggest reason for this offense’s success though is New England’s defense. The defense has created opportunities for the offense by forcing the third-most turnovers. This has led to the offense having the second-best starting field position, per Pro-Football-Reference. Against the Dolphins’ low-ceiling offense, New England should be able to once again set its offense up for success.
Is This Tagovailoa’s Final Dolphins Start?
This year has been one to forget for the Miami offense. Its struggles have led to the 27th-ranked offense in yards per drive and 28th in points per drive.
The biggest issue for this offense has been its play in the trenches. Per PFF, the Dolphins ranked fourth-worst in run blocking and worst in pass blocking. Against tougher defensive fronts these past two weeks, the flaws have shown even more. Miami’s offense has scored just one touchdown and three field goals.
The No. 1 victim of the Dolphins’ blocking problems has been quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Per Pro-Football-Reference, the Dolphins are tied for the second-lowest pocket time. This makes evaluating if the young quarterback should be their future or not difficult. Unfortunately, with the offseason approaching, this could be Tagovailoa’s last chance to prove himself to the Dolphins.
Coming into the year, the expectations for this team were mostly on the defense, and it did not disappoint. At first look, the defense looks middle of the pack because of its points and yards allowed per game. However, on a per-drive basis, its ranks in yards and points allowed jump to the top eight. Had Miami’s offense been able to keep it off the field a little, we may be judging this defense differently.
Patriots vs. Dolphins Predictions
This year officially comes full circle as the season started with these teams facing off at 4:25 p.m. ET, and now it ends with the same matchup at the same time. Round one was a very different game though. It was the first NFL action that several key Patriots had in over a year after electing to sit out due to COVID in 2020. Also, and more importantly, it was Mac Jones’ first-ever NFL start. Now, New England’s defense is better constructed and planned, and Jones has 16 starts under his belt.
While things have changed for the Patriots to exceed our expectations, Miami has mostly stayed the same. In the preseason, the Dolphins were expected to be around a .500 team that could sneak into the playoffs. They may have taken an unanticipated streaky route to this point but have nonetheless ended where we expected.
Even with the additional questions for New England in Week 1, the matchup ended as a one-point game. The Patriots even had a chance to win if not for a late fumble in field-goal range.
For this game, I am expecting New England to take care of business handily. We have seen the Patriots show no remorse as they beat down on teams like the Jaguars and Jets, and that should continue.
The Dolphins’ struggles to block just scream trouble given the Patriots’ talent and creativity on defense. Miami’s defense is also weakest against the run as it ranks 19th in yards allowed per carry. Facing a run-first, physical team like New England is the opposite of who Miami is.
This has another Dolphins offensive struggle written all over it as the Patriots run the ball to a comfortable victory.
Pick: Patriots -6 | Bet to: -6.5
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