The NFL action gets underway in week 8 with an AFC East showdown on Thursday Night Football in Foxboro. The undefeated New England Patriots welcome the 3-3 Miami Dolphins to Gillette Stadium for a prime time matchup. Entering the season many experts predicted that these two teams would battle it out for the AFC East crown.
So far that hasnâ€™t been the case as the Patriots have jumped out to six wins over the first seven weeks of the regular season. That hot start has them two games up in the divisions over the New York Jets while the Dolphins sit just ahead of the Buffalo Bills for third place in the division.
Now before jumping to fast on the Patriots bandwagon this week for your weekly pick em league or sports bets we recommend you looking at the Dolphins recent success. That success started two weeks ago after the Dolphins elected to let go Joe Philbin after three consecutive losses including back to back against division foes the Bills and Jets.
Since then the Dolphins offense has been rolling posing 82 points over the past week while their defense has allowed just 36. Even those 36 points look deceiving as they jumped out to a commanding 41-0 lead last week before halftime against the Houston Texans. The Texans would score 13 points in both the third and fourth quarter but most of it coming in mop up time.
The one key to the teamâ€™s recent success could go to Ryan Tannehill who has completed 30 of his last 48 passes for 548 yards, six touchdowns and just two interceptions in the two game winning streak. The second key has been the teamâ€™s defense that has forced 10 sacks over the past two weeks while allowing less than 75 yards on the ground in each contest.
While the Dolphins have played well of late the Patriots have played extremely well while having a chip on their shoulder. Most of their success has come from behind center with quarterback Tom Brady. Brady will be the key to this matchup for the Patriots and if the Dolphins front seven canâ€™t force pressure he will continue his MVP like season. In six games, Brady has thrown for 2,054 yards to go with 16 touchdowns and just one interception.
Previous Meetings: Last season these two teams split with each of the home teams picking up wins. The first meeting came in week 1 as the Dolphins picked up a 33-20 win after a strong second half performance outscoring the Patriots 23-0. The Dolphins defense limited the Patriots to just 67 yards in the second half allowing their offense a chance to lead the comeback.
The second meeting went the completely opposite as the Dolphins defense couldnâ€™t get it going in the second half. That includes allowing Brady and the Patriots to score 24 points in the third quarter to roll to a 41-13 lead. LeGarrette Blount capped off an eight play 79 yard drive to start the scoring while Brady connected with Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman for his two touchdown passes.
The last time the Dolphins picked up a win in New England was back in 2008.
Betting Trends: The one trend that stands out has been the Patriots dominance at home over the Dolphins. The Dolphins have also struggled against the spread in New England posting just a 1-4 record in their last five trips up North. Along with that the home team has dominated against the spread of late going 6-0 in NFL against the spread over their last six meetings while the favorite has posted a 4-1 record against the spread.
Now the question we all want to know is can the Patriots roll to a commanding win to cover the eight point spread? If not we should all turn our attention to the over/under line that sits at 51 points. Each of these teams have struggled at times on the defensive side of the ball this season and both have shown the ability to score points at will.
The trends support the over as well as these two teams have combined to cover the spread in eight of their last ten games this season. The Patriots have also combined to cover the spread in 37 of their last 53 games at Gillette Stadium.