The Miami Dolphins are 2-0 since firing head coach Joe Philbin, which could make their game against the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football more competitive than previously thought. While the Patriots are clear -8 favorites against the Dolphins, it’s likely that they’ll put up more of a fight with interim head coach Dan Campbell rejuvenating this under-performing team.
Thursday Night Football: New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins
Point Spread: Patriots -8 Over/under: 51 Date: Thursday, October 29 8:25pm ET Location:Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
Early in the season, Miami’s offense has looked sluggish and out of sync. They’re currently ranked 22nd in overall offense in the league, but face a Patriots defense that has some clear holes. The +8 underdog Dolphins don’t have the offensive weapons to overpower, but Ryan Tannehill does a good job of spreading the ball around. An interim coach has sparked something in this offense, and the Dolphins hope the last two weeks’ momentum can carry over to their biggest test of the season.
Heading into this season, Miami’s defense looked like it could be one of the best ever on paper, yet it hasn’t played out on the field as the Dolphins are 13th overall on defense. They’ve begun to catch fire after the firing of their defensive coordinator and will need some of that to carry over against Tom Brady and their relentless offense. With the Patriots ranked 31st on the ground, all of the focus will be on stopping the air attack. If Miami can get pressure up the middle, where Brady struggles to adapt the most, they could force him into some rare turnovers and take their scoring opportunities away.
New England Patriots
With such a high-scoring offense, the Patriots defense simply needs to bend and not break each week. The point spread is currently favoring the Pats at -8. Against Miami’s offense, they match up favorably. While they might give up yardage to running back Lamar Miller, who’s averaging six yards per carry, they don’t have to worry about an inconsistent Tannehill carving up their sometimes spotty secondary. Making the Dolphins rely on Tannehill by taking the ground game away is the best bet for a dominant defensive performance.
The Patriots have not had issues scoring points this season and are putting up an average of over 400 all-purpose yards per game. Facing a very good front four in Miami, Brady will rely on quick passes to Rob Gronkowski in the seam as well as drag and crossing routes, hoping receivers Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman can continue to pile up a huge amount of yards after the catch. While the Patriots are known for running up the score, this could be a lower scoring game than New England fans are used to.
Thursday Night Football Prediction
Miami has seen improvement with Campbell as their head coach, but won games against two of the worst teams in the league in the Titans and the Texans. Confidence heading into this game against the Patriots is a must, but when facing Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium, you’re going to need more than a head of steam to come out with a win.
Check out more of Sports Interaction’s best picks against the spread in Week 8.