Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at 7:00 PM
It’s one thing to run up the score on the Tennessee Titans or Houston Texans…two likely also-rans who don’t have much of a reason to play with fire outside of rivalry games. It’s quite another to show and up in Foxboro and play well against your divisional rival…the defending Super Bowl champions.
Just how “for real” are the Miami Dolphins after their amazing showings the past two weeks? Did the coaching change unleash a juggernaut? Can Miami make a run at a Wildcard? Can Miami…gulp…take out the Patriots who may be worn down from that battle with the hated New York Jets?
Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about a matchup that suddenly got very interesting!
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Miami: 3-3 (#26 ranked schedule according to Sagarin)
New England: 6-0 (#13 ranked schedule according to Sagarin)
Miami was struggling vs. what should have been a manageable schedule before the coaching change…and running up the score on the 3-10 Titans/Texans combo may have just been a fortunate schedule break. There’s no doubt the New England is legitimate as long as Tom Brady is healthy. They’re still undefeated against what’s slightly better than a league average schedule. Frankly…a great test for BOTH because Miami will have to bring it while New England has to avoid a letdown.
Miami: 6.0 on offense, 5.4 on defense
New England: 6.2 on offense, 5.4 on defense
Wow…almost the same team! Well, you have to adjust for schedule strength. And, you have to remember that Miami really padded its stats the past two weeks (how about 8.5 to 4.1 over Houston!). Both teams can be proud of those defensive numbers. Miami at least has a chance to compete based on the relative stat equality you see above.
New England: +5
This splashes some cold water on the Dolphins. Their defense has done a fairly poor job of forcing turnovers this season. They did abuse Tennessee’s rookie quarterback after going for his knee! But…his isn’t a group that’s likely to force mistakes from Brady. New England always owns this category when healthy because the offense is so low-risk and opponents have to chase from behind most of the time. Tannehill vs. Brady? Possibly a rout in this category for the multi-time Super Bowl champ.
Miami: 3-3 ATS
New England: 3-2-1 ATS
The Dolphins were obviously 1-3 ATS before the coaching change. Miami was getting the money at a 75% clip before the Jets game…and they were in position to vulture a cover there before NYJ kicked a very late field goal. Not much guidance here unfortunately. The market has clearly underestimated what Miami was capable of once the cloud was lifted from the skies overhead. Should oddsmakers keep moving…or have they already over-adjusted and come too far?
Current Line: New England by 7.5, total of 51.5
New England is still getting plenty of respect, as that’s above the key number of seven. Miami is being treated like a generic AFC team rather than some sort of budding surprise. The market still needs to be convinced! We should point out there’s at least some respect for Miami’s offense in that Over/Under. This is priced as a shootout…and on a Thursday night when scoring has been dipping since the league made it a weekly attraction. The cover will likely come down to Miami turnovers. If they can avoid them…they can score a shocker if the Pats are flat. Two giveaways or more and an upset will be almost impossible.
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You already know that we see the New England Patriots Thursday. Some other championship hopefuls will be on the tube in the coming days. This weekend in the NOTEBOOK…
*College Football TV Preview…#9 Notre Dame at #21 Temple
*NFL Sunday Night TV Preview…Green Bay at Denver
*NFL Monday Night TV Preview…Indianapolis at Carolina
*NFL Thursday Night TV Preview…Cleveland at Cincinnati
That’s Notre Dame trying to climb back into the college championship chase against a ranked opponent…then a potential Super Bowl preview with the Packers and Broncos…along with undefeated Carolina and currently undefeated Cincinnati. Get your man caves ready…and get ready to decorate the walls with cold, hard cash thanks to JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!
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