Inter-conference action here as the Miami Dolphins head North to take on the suddenly struggling Green Bay Packers. The Dolphins have dealt with a rash of injuries, but are 5-4 and remain in the AFC playoff hunt. The Packers are coming off a tough Sunday Night loss to the Patriots, and suddenly find themselves below .500. The Dolphins will once again be without Ryan Tannehill, which mean Brock Osweiler will get the start at quarterback.
Dolphins Banged Up
The Dolphins have been one of the most injured teams in football, but have continued to somehow manage to win tough games. Tannehill has missed over a month now, and it’s unclear when he’ll return. Osweiler has played surprisingly well in his place, and he has performed about the same as Tannehill, so that might actually not be too big of a loss.
Osweiler came to Miami with a lot of familiarity with coach Adam Gase’s offense, as Gase was the offensive coordinator in Denver when Osweiler was backing up Peyton Manning. Osweiler obviously had a lot of success in Denver, and getting back to his roots appears to be helping him greatly. The Dolphins are 2-2 since Osweiler took over, and one of the two losses was to a surging Texans team in a tough road spot on a Thursday Night game.
— Al Butler (@ALaboutSports) November 5, 2018
The Dolphins will likely seek to run the ball a lot here, as run defense has been a weakness for Green Bay. Veteran running back Frank Gore is enjoying a late-career resurgence in Miami and is running the ball really well. The Dolphins also have Kenyan Drake who is great as both a pass-catcher and a runner. The national narrative is that the Dolphins are doomed, but I think they should have enough offensive firepower to keep this one closer than most people think.
Packers In Disarray
For a while, it looked like the Packers were going to go into New England and upset the Patriots last week, but then Aaron Jones fumbled in the fourth quarter and everything went downhill from there. The Packers currently sit at 3-4-1, and find themselves on the brink of exiting a tough NFC playoff picture with another couple of losses. It’s fair to say this is a must-win game for the Packers, and that Green Bay will be going all out here.
Inter-conference games always make for an interesting handicap, as the teams don’t have much familiarity with each other. The Packers suffered several injuries against the Patriots, but it looks like almost everyone will be back in time for this one, except Kevin King. King is a starting cornerback and is looking more like doubtful for the game, which will be a pretty big loss. The team is already playing without starting safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who they traded to the Redskins at the deadline.
Even though Jones had a crucial fumble last week, the Packers will need to get him involved here. The Dolphins have struggled to contain opponents’ ground games at times this year, and got gashed by Kerryon Johnson a couple of weeks ago. Jones is a very talented runner, and gives the Packers a new element they haven’t had in years past. Coach Mike McCarthy has shown a reluctance to run the ball in the past, but he definitely should here.
- 3-8 ATS vs. a team with a winning record
- 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games overall
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up loss
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game
- 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating less than 150 yards passing in their previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I like the Dolphins a lot here, and think this spread is way too high. This number is simply too large for a Packers team that has looked pretty bad recently. The team morale doesn’t look great, and the front office has already signaled they aren’t exactly playing for 2018 anymore. The Dolphins defense recently had their best game of the season, and should have some momentum. Give me the team with more to play for catching 9.5 all day long.
Prediction: Dolphins +9.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I like the under a lot here. Both teams’ defensive weaknesses is run-defense, and I think both teams will be running the ball a ton to try to take advantage. Gore is a between the tackles grinder who should kill a lot of clock, and I think both teams’ defenses are trending in the right direction.