- The under has hit in 17 of the 26 games these two have played this season
- The Miami Dolphins are 10-3 against the spread this season
A matchup between the Patriots and Dolphins always comes with some added spice. Usually it is the Dolphins trying to knock the Patriots off their stride late in the season, but 2020 sees the Patriots looking to play spoiler. The Patriots will be out for revenge after the Dolphins cost them a first-round bye with a Week 17 victory in 2019.
The most intriguing part about this matchup is how well these two teams know each other. As recently as two years ago, Brian Flores was winning a Super Bowl ring as a coach of the Patriots. Since then, Flores has completed a miraculous turnaround of the Dolphins franchise. If any coach is well placed to win this game, it is Flores.
A subplot to this game is that Bill Belichick is 21-5 against rookie QBs in his time as Patriots head coach. He added Justin Herbert to his list of victims two weeks ago and now he has Tua Tagovailoa in his sights. Does Flores’ magic stretch to helping his rookie QB as his name to the list of rookies to have beaten Belichick?
If the Dolphins are to win this week it is likely not on the back of their offense. They rank 19th in net yards per passing attempt, 32nd in rushing attempts, 28th in plays per drive, 24th in yards per drive, 19th in points per drive, and 25th in third-down conversion percentage. All of that adds up to a reason for the Dolphins to be concerned about their offense.
The Patriots defense has had its issues against both the run and pass at times this season, but recently the run game has really been the way to get at them. The Rams ran for 186 yards on the way to victory, while both the Bills and 49ers racked up over 190 yards in wins back in Week 6 and 7. Only one team has beaten the Patriots solely through the air, the Houston Texans in Week 11.
The problem for the Dolphins is their run game is in tatters. Salvon Ahmed is injured, Myles Gaskin and Matt Breida have spent time on the COVID list in recent weeks, and DeAndre Washington is the main back in this offense. The Dolphins are going to need their passing game to win this one and that will be tough. Mike Gesicki, DeVante Parker, and Preston Williams are all potentially set to miss the game, leaving Tua with limited weapons.
The Dolphins will need their defense to step up big against the Patriots if they are to succeed in Week 15. The Patriots offense runs through its ground game. They lead the league in rushing attempts, with the ninth best yards per attempt. The Dolphins defense has been stout against the run in recent weeks, but they have not faced an offense in the style of New England. When Miami lost to the Broncos in Week 11, it was with the Broncos rushing for 189 yards.
Turnovers will be key for the Dolphins. They are the only team to force a turnover in every game and every possession in this game will be vital. If they can force Cam Newton to the air, then they have every chance. However, the combination of the Dolphins’ potential frailties against the run, combined with their lack of ability to beat the Patriots on the ground, as well as the Belichick numbers against rookie QBs lead me to take the Patriots in a tight game.
The under is also in play in this game. Neither offense is highly prolific and three of the Dolphins last four games have seen under 35 points scored. However, 41.5 points is extremely low and something I am not sure I am willing to bet on given the potential for a defensive score or two in this game.
NFL Expert Picks
1u – New England Patriots +2.5 @ -105
NFL Free Picks
What a Week 15 we have in store. It's not a blockbuster week for the traditional primetime slots. Thursday Night Football gives us the Chargers at Raiders, Sunday Night Football is Browns at Giants and Monday Night Football sees the Steelers travelling into Cincy to face the Bengals. While those games may not be fantastic the fact we have two Saturday games. First up is Bills at Bengals, followed by Panthers at Packers. Outside of those games we have some interesting clashes elsewhere. The Seahawks enter Washington as favorites but it'll be a tough ask against a defense who are really coming into form. The Eagles are giving Jalen Hurts another chance to perform against the Cardinals in a battle between two former Sooners quarterbacks. We also have the Chiefs against the Saints. It's going to be a fun week of football.
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