Two of the NFL’s three Florida-based teams go head-to-head Sunday – and while the visiting Jaguars aren’t in postseason contention, they could make things a lot more difficult for the Dolphins.
Host Miami saw its playoff chances take a major hit with last week’s 41-17 drubbing at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings, and need to win its final two games – while getting some help – to return to the postseason for the first time since 2016.
NFL Point Spread and Betting Analysis
It has been a tale of two seasons for the Dolphins, who are 6-1 at home but have just one win in seven road games. Fortunately, Sunday’s game is at Hard Rock Stadium, where Miami is a four-point favourite; it covered in six of its first seven home games in 2018. And the Jaguars have been bad all the way around this season, having gone just 1-7-2 ATS in their previous 10 games overall with zero covers in their previous five road outings.
With both offences struggling, it’s no surprise that Sunday’s total is a rock-bottom 38.5. But while the Jags have gone 10-4 to the under in their past 14 games following a SU defeat, they’ve gone above the number in four straight road games, with three of them producing 45 or more points. Miami is 5-2 O/U in its past seven home games, but 2-5 O/U in its previous seven vs. AFC foes. The teams have gone under in five of their past six meetings.
It’s a fitting end to a difficult season: One year after sending six defensive players to the Pro Bowl, the Jaguars have just one representative (Jalen Ramsey) in 2018 despite ranking sixth in total defence and sixth in fewest points allowed. On offence, Jacksonville had star running back Leonard Fournette on a snap count – he finished with just 14 touches – and will likely use the same tactic in Week 16 with Fournette nursing a foot injury.
The Dolphins have made a habit of unearthing future starting running backs later in the season – and that trend looks to be continuing in 2018 with last week’s emergence of Kalen Ballage. The fourth-round rookie out of Arizona State had an emphatic coming out party in the loss to the Vikings, piling up 123 yards and a touchdown on just 12 carries – highlighted by an electric 75-yard rushing score on which he reached a top speed of more than 21 miles per hour.