The Miami Dolphins will look to remain in playoff position when they host the New England Patriots on Friday night in an AFC East rivalry clash. Miami enters the week as the No. 7 seed at 8-5 after a hard-fought 33-27 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs as a 7.5-point home underdog over the weekend. New England is hoping to regroup after being crushed 24-3 by the Los Angeles Rams last Thursday as a five-point underdog to fall to 6-7 overall.
These two teams met back in Week 1, with the Patriots winning 21-11. Miami and New England have split the season series in each of the last three seasons.
Patriots crushed by RamsIn the first meeting between the two teams since Super Bowl LIII, New England's longshot playoff hopes took a major hit with a 24-3 road loss to the Rams. Los Angeles got off to a fast start on a Jared Goff touchdown run, and extended the lead to 17-0 early in the second on a 79-yard pick six by Kenny Young. The Patriots only points came on a 29-yard field goal by Nick Folk with 1:04 left in the first half.
The Patriots managed just 220 total yards of offense, with Cam Newton finishing nine of 16 passing for 119 yards before Jarrett Stidham came in late. Rams running back Cam Akers racked up 29 carries for 171 yards and a touchdown to keep Los Angeles in control.
"Certainly, Rams were the better team tonight. They deserve a lot of credit. We were outcoached, outplayed, about everything, really," head coach Bill Belichick said to New England's official website. "They did a good job in all the areas. We weren't good enough to really be able to stay with them here."
New England has a matching 6-7 record against the spread this season, although it had covered in three of the last four games prior to the blowout on Thursday. Overs are 4-9 in Patriots games this season, with the last five all going under the betting total.
It's been a struggle for the New England offense, which is averaging 21.3 points per game on 332.9 yards per contest. The Patriots defense has remained strong despite a number of opt-outs, ranking seventh in scoring at 21.5 points per game allowed and 10th in total defense at 342.5 yards per game.
Newton has completed 199 of 301 passes for 2,172 yards, five touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his first year with the Patriots. Second-year running back Damien Harris has been a bright spot with 137 carries for 691 yards and two touchdowns.
Every player on the active roster made an appearance in New England's Thursday practice, but 13 members of the team were limited. Harris and fellow running back James White were both limited by lower body injuries. Guard Shaq Mason was limited by a calf injury, while top corner J.C. Jackson is hampered by a knee injury. Kicker Nick Folk is also questionable with a back problem.
Miami falls short in upset bidLooking to take down the red-hot Chiefs, Miami was unable to complete a fourth-quarter comeback in a 33-27 loss to Kansas City. The Dolphins defense got off to a great start en route to a 7-0 first quarter, picking off Patrick Mahomes twice while also forcing a 30-yard sack. Tyreek Hill scored on two long touchdowns while Mecole Hardman added a 67-yard punt return to extend Kansas City's lead to 30-10 midway through the third. Tua Tagovailoa threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Mike Gesicki and later scored on a short run to make things closer, but Miami could not get a key stop on Kansas City's last drive.
Kansas City finished with 448 total yards, but the Dolphins managed to force four turnovers against the NFL's best offense. Tagovailoa had the most productive game of his rookie season, completing 28 of 48 passes for 316 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, along with six carries for 24 yards and a score.
“This is an explosive team, and they went on a run there,” head coach Brian Flores said to the Associated Press. “It was a quick spurt. That’s how they’re built; they go on runs. They went on one there. We collected ourselves, and I thought our guys did a good job of that. We played with poise and got ourselves back in the game.”
Miami has had an excellent year against the spread at 10-3, and has covered in seven of its last eight games. Overs are 5-8 in Dolphins games this season with Miami playing stout defense in recent games, although Sunday's contest went over the betting total to snap a three-game win streak for the under.
The Dolphins are mid-pack in scoring at 25.4 points per game despite ranking in the bottom six in the NFL with 323.4 yards per contest. Miami's defense has played at elite level, ranking second in scoring at 18.8 points per game allowed on 362.3 yards per game allowed, and has forced 25 turnovers, tied with Pittsburgh in the league lead.
In six games, Tagovailoa has completed 114 of 184 passes for 1,214 yards, nine touchdowns, and one interception which came on Sunday against Kansas City. Cornerback Xavien Howard has been one of the best defensive players in the NFL with a league-high nine interceptions, along with 40 tackles.
The Dolphins do have some injury concerns heading into the weekend, as Gesicki (shoulder) and starting safety Bobby McCain (ankle) have not been able to practice this week. Top two receivers DeVante Parker, who exited Sunday's game early without a catch, and Jakeem Grant were limited by hamstring injuries but able to practice on Wednesday. Linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts appear ready to return after missing the Kansas City game.
Trends via Covers.com. Miami is:
- 5-0 ATS in its last five games after a straight up loss
- 5-0 ATS in its last five home games
- 5-1 ATS in its last six games against the AFC East
New England is:
- 3-7-1 in its last 11 games in December.
- 2-5 ATS in its last seven road games.