By: Jason Sarney
It is an extremely special weekend starting on Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium as the Miami Dolphins franchise honors their greatest stalwart in the Organizations illustrious history. The life and career of Don Shula will be remembered and celebrated on Saturday, just a day before the Dolphins host the Indianapolis Colts, which was a franchise the man himself coached prior to joining the Miami Dolphins.
-Dan Marino ALUMNI STATS vs. Colts 22-11 all-time:
624 - 1030 for a 60.58 completion % 54 Touchdowns 17 INTs a Career QB rating against IND of 93.7, which was the highest of his four AFC East rivals, IND at the time, NE, BUF and NYJ. He owned them.
-MIA loves our UDFAs. What about Arena League stars? Oronde Gadsden was a beast and 1-handed catch OG. (see what I did there?) Against IND, an AFC East Rival in his day, in 9 games helped MIA to a 7-2 record in those contests with 28 receptions 452 yards, and 5 TDs.
Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain were a combined force for MIA - and pretty much dominated the COLTS Together, they were 7-4 against IND (8-4 Madison alone) and in 11 games combined for 5 INTs and 13 PDs in those games.
-OJ McDuffie is the Miami Dolphins Best Friend to us all. He was also a Colt Killah' as we've joked about. Not only did Juice score his 1st NFL TD vs. INDY on a Punt under the lights here was his career against them as an AFC East Rival) 14 Games 49 - 659 - 6 TDs (1 PR).
There also is a rumor of a certain throwback logo being used this weekend but that's neither here nor there, and not up to me to speculate…so if it doesn’t happen, Blame Kyle Crabbs of Locked on Dolphins (He’s great!)
Here are your Miami Dolphins News Notes and Nuggets for Week 4:
-Miami leads the all-time series against the Colts 48-27 including a 16-12 Win last meeting in 2019.
-Jacoby Brissett Completed 32 passes against the Raiders. This is the most by a Miami QB making their first start with the team.
-Jacoby Brissett was once a Colt: He played 4 seasons with Indy from 2017-20, appearing in 46 games with 30 starts. Brissett’s totals in Indianapolis include 552-of-928 passing (59.5 pct.) for 6,059 yards, 31 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and a QB rating of 84.2.
-Mike Gesicki’s 10 receptions were the most by a TE in team history & he joins Las Vegas’ Darren Waller (9/13/21 vs. Baltimore) as the only NFL TE with 10 receptions in a game this season. His 86 receiving yards were the ninth-most by an NFL tight end in a game this year.
-Jaylen Waddle has 22 receptions this year, which is tied for 5th in the NFL through Week 3. Waddle’s 12 receptions at LV were the most by a Dolphins rookie in team history.
-Miami’s defense has ranked among NFL's best in several categories so far in 2021. MIA is tied for 2nd in the NFL in fumble recoveries (3) & tied for 7th in takeaways (5) They are also 4th in the NFL in 1st-down success rate & only 42.1% of opposing 1st-down snaps have gained 4+ yards.
-In Three 2021 games, the Miami Dolphins have had three different offensive line combinations.
-For those that still don't think Xavien Howard is the NFL's best CB. He entered 2021 leading the NFL in INTs over the past 3 seasons. Howard was limited to just 5 games in 2019 & 12 in 2018 due to injury but still leads the NFL in interceptions dating back to 2017.
-I'm just gonna leave this here:
-Through 3 games of the 2021 season, Emmanuel Ogbah has recorded eight tackles, half a sack, 7 quarterback hits and one pass defended. The Raw Sack Stat will increase, but he is putting in work: Miami would be wise to retain him for the long haul.
-I preach patience to a relative extent: Mainly with rookies: Jaelan Phillips Snap Count progression:
Week 1 - 29% DEF 24% ST
Week 2 - 18% DEF 8% ST
Week 3 - 59% DEF 6% ST
It's almost like they are developing him He is getting his sea-legs I smell a sack SUN
-Coach Shula's Celebration of Life I planned for 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2 at Hard Rock Stadium.
By: Hussam Patel
It was another wild week in college football! We’re starting to see what the rest of the season might look like.
Nebraska snaps Oklahoma’s 65-game streak of scoring more than 27 points. The Florida Gators failed a 2 point conversion against Alabama in a game many decided the Crimson tide would win easily.
The state of Michigan is kicking ass. Sparty is now 3-0, thanks to beating up the Hurricanes 38-17. Michigan smashed Northern Illinois 63-10. Penn State QB Sean Clifford was 28-32 for 280 yards, 2 tds. Nittany Lions defense legit, and are contenders for the Big Ten East crown.
This year looks like CHAOS!
3 biggest games
Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin
Players to Watch:
Notre Dame: Jack Coan, Kyren Williams, Micheal Mayer, Cain Madden, Jaret Patterson, Kyle Hamilton, Isaiah Foskey
Wisconsin: Graham Mertz, Chez Mellusi, Jake Ferguson, Tyler Beach, Kayden Lyles, Keanu Benton, Jack Sanborn, Leo Chenal, Scott Nelson
Prediction: Notre Dame 27, Wisconsin 23.
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas
Players to watch:
Texas A&M: Isaiah Spiller, Ainias Smith, Jaylen Wydermyer, Kenyon Green, DeMarvin Leal, Tyree Johnson, Micheal Clemons, Aaron Hansford, Myles Jones, Jaylon Jones, Demani Richardson
Arkansas: KJ Jefferson, Trelon Smith, Treylon Burks, Myron Cunningham, Ricky Stromberg, Jalen Catalon
Prediction: Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 28.
Tennessee vs. Florida
Players to Watch:
Tennessee: Hendon Hooker, Jabari Small, Cade Mays, Aubrey Soloman, Alontae Taylor
Florida: Anthony Richardson, Dameon Pierce, Jacob Copeland, Keon Zipperer, Stewart Reese, Zach Carter, Ventrell Miller, Brenton Cox Jr, Jeremiah Moon, Mohamoud Diabate, Kaiir Elam
Prediction: Florida 34, Tennessee 24
By: Jason Sarney
Following one of the most difficult losses to tolerate in recent memory, the Miami Dolphins get ready to travel across the country to Las Vegas to the scene of last season's most miraculous victory. The 1-1 Dolphins head to face-off against the 2-0 Raiders and look to get back on track following a miserable 35-0 home defeat to the AFC East rival Buffalo Bills.
Last season, Miami pulled off a Miracle win on a Jason Sanders field goal, following a blind and facemask twisted heave by then Miami back-up QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Wide receiver Mack Hollins hauled in the hail-Mary prayer with a penalty added to boot, before Sanders’ boot to win it.
Fitzpatrick, a back-up who was called upon when needed, got Miami a road win. Can Jacoby Brissett, a back-up QB by title and now starter by necessity, create some of last season’s Las Vegas "magic?" We will find out Sunday afternoon and until then, here are your Week 3 News and Notes heading into the Las Vegas Raiders Week 3 road match-up.
-MIA has won 7 of their past 8 games against the Raiders since the 2008 season. Miami has won 2 in a row against them, including a miraculous 26-25 win at Allegiant Stadium last year.
-Last season Miami lost back-to-back games on one occurrence. Weeks 1 and 2 last season.
-If MIA wins on Sunday, they will even up the all-time series with the Raiders. Currently, the LV/OAK/LA Raiders franchise has a 20-19-1 record against Miami, including the playoffs.
-It's early in, but so far the Miami Dolphins Defense is Top 10 in: -Fumble recoveries - (1st in NFL) -Tied for 3rd in fewest plays allowed over 10 yards with 19 of them -9th in the NFL in yards allowed per play (5.28).
-After two games the Raiders are the NFL's No. 1 team in passing offense with 391 yards per game.
-Xavien Howard has faced the Raiders 3 times in his career. In those 3 games, he has 5 tackles, 2 INTs, and 5 Passes Defended.
-Andrew Van Ginkel got himself 2 sacks last year against Las Vegas. Bet ya he gets one again....
-In his 9 career games against the Raiders, Albert Wilson averages 20.67 yards per reception. 18 catches for 372 yards and a pair of TDs, one being a long of 74.
-Miami as a defense has 17 QB hits, yet a combined 1 sack. 0.5 for Ogbah and 0.5 for Van Ginkel. 17 QB hits, 1 sack. The sacks will come.
-5 different Dolphins have caused fumbles. In two games.
-So far, Mack Hollins leads the Dolphins in Special Teams tackles with 3.
-The last the Dolphins returned an opening Kick-off for a TD was 1971. Mercury Morris.
-Xavien Howard has had 2 INT games. Can he ever get a hat-trick? Last time that happened for MIA was back in 1999 when Sam Madison picked off 3 against Tennessee and the late-great, Steve McNair. MIA won 17-0.
The Dolphins face the Colts next week at home and have a great chance to right the ship before meeting the Buccaneers Week 5, regardless of his is the captain at the wheel.
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By: Jason Sarney
In mere hours, the Miami Dolphins will open up their home season at Hard Rock Stadium with an AFC East divisional matchup against the rival Buffalo Bills. Although the Dolphins have an impressive 24-15 record at home since the 2016 season, and a 5-3 home record from last season, they have lost the last five games against Buffalo including last year's Week 17 blowout loss 56-26.
Miami goes into this game 1-0, while Buffalo at 0-1 are already in a very difficult position should they lose this game to the Dolphins, and drop to 0-2. If this happens, both Buffalo losses would be from AFC teams, which could bite them come December. The Dolphins defense surely remembers last year's finale, so expect a heated unit to come out pressuring Josh Allen, as sacks and QB pressures are of the utmost importance today in order to make the Buffalo QB uncomfortable, unlike last year against Miami.
Of the field, going into this game there is a bit of a distraction following the news of wide receiver Will Fuller not playing Sunday, as well as the rest of the season being in doubt for the newly acquired free agent. In a late week press conference, Brian Flores informed reporters that Fuller will not play Week 2, as there is clearly a potentially serious issue he is dealing with. While it is not the job here to speculate on details, it’s a situation I can only wish and hope for the best for Fuller and his family.
As for Flores and his comments regarding Fuller, he said on Friday, “Will will not practice today. He will not play on Sunday. He’s dealing with a personal issue. I’ve had multiple conversations with him the last couple of days. He’s definitely dealing with a personal issue. I respect his privacy and I ask that everyone respects his privacy. We support Will and we’ll take it one day at a time.”
When asked further on if Fuller will miss multiple weeks, Flores said, “We’ll take it one day at a time.” He was then asked again a similar worded question, to gauge whether or not we will see Fuller again this season. Flores keep to the script, “One day at a time,” he reiterated.
With Fuller out, the name that comes to mind immediately would be 3rd year WR Preston Williams. The young and talented undrafted free agent from 2019 has shown both signs of massive potential as well as a very recent history of unfortunate injuries. While the conversation and detail of those injuries are for another day, his potential is something Miami values, and not ready to fold their hand on yet.
Williams was limited on Friday in practice and questionable against Buffalo, as his foot is closing in on 100%, if not already there. Flores told reports, regarding his availability, “He’s definitely improving, I would say, just from a health standpoint. We’ll see how today’s [Friday] practice goes before we make any determination of who is up and who is down.”
It will be a game-time decision for Williams on Sunday, and it would not shock me to see him inactive, as the Dolphins are slow-playing this one.
Staying on the injury and availability front, the Miami Dolphins world stood still last week at the sight of Raekwon Davis laying on the New England grass. Thankfully, he walked off the field with limited assistance, and in all hopefulness could be back inside a month after a quick IR stint.
Benito Jones and/or Jabaal Sheard could take on the “next-man-up” role here, as coach Flores endorsed them both Friday. “Both guys we feel good about. They’ve practiced well. We’ll see how today’s practice goes before we make any kind of final determinations of who is up, who is down, flexes and things of that nature.”
Whether it's the next guy on the defensive line or in the receiving corp., this Miami team needs to fire on all cylinders against the AFC East favorite Bills. A team that has a weapon in Stefon Diggs that is an elite wide-out, playing with quarterback Josh Allen, a player who is on the fringe at the elite class of the QB position in the NFL.
The Dolphins must do what they have had an inability to do recently, and that is stifle a quarterback who has the ability to utilize his legs and pick up first downs rushing the football. Not only do the Dolphins have to contain Allen's ground game, but the main worry is also his developing skills passing the ball. With Diggs likely being covered by All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard, it is the middle of the field that will be of concern. So the safeties in Eric Rowe, Brandon Jones and rookie Jevon Holland, as well as slot cornerback Nik Needham, will need to step up this afternoon.
Flipping to the most important aspect of the offensive side of the ball, the Miami O-line must neutralize the Buffalo front and make life at least tolerable for Tua Tagovailoa. In addition to the necessity of finding Tua time in the pocket, they need to help the rushing attack of Myles Gaskin, Malcolm Brown and Salvon Ahmed.
Gaskin, a dual threat with his receiving skills, ran well last week yet there is room for improvement in the overall ground game. If the line can win the battle of the trenches, and Tua has time to find DeVante Parker and Jaylen Waddle as he did last week, the Dolphins have more than a fighting chance in this contest. Keep your eyes on the tight ends as well. Namely Mike Gesicki who looks to rebound from a goose-egg performance Week 1. Durham Smythe could also be a factor, as this Miami TE room is coming off of a prolific 2020 campaign.
Miami has a major opportunity at 1:00 to begin a path to a 2-0 start to 2021, both AFC East wins, and the difference of teams in years past could be proven today. When there is a chance to put the cleats down on the necks of a division, Miami has that chance to capitalize and not let the pack join them.
You never want to call a Week 2 game a “must-win,” yet this rivalry game very well could be a “need-to-win” game for the NFL to start taking this Dolphins team seriously.
By: Matthew Morin
When the Dolphins drafted Jaylen Waddle with the 6th overall pick back in late April, they believed they were getting a top level receiver with game-breaking ability, strong hands, and electric route-running. They also had their starting QB, Tua Tagovailoa in mind when making the selection.
Seeing as the main goal of Miami’s offseason was to acquire more quality targets for an offense that lacked firepower, taking Waddle was a no-brainer. The Alabama product racked up just under 2000 yards receiving and averaged 18.9 yards per reception during his 3 seasons in Tuscaloosa.
Those numbers speak to Waddle’s freakish ability to create separation from defenders at the line of scrimmage, and or downfield. This is exactly the type of player Chris Grier & Brian Flores wanted to put aside their other offseason additions in Will Fuller and Albert Wilson back from a season opt out in 2020 (COVID-19).
Miami wants to have as many targets as possible that can consistently win in 1 on 1 coverage, so that Tua can go back to his roots of being what fans call a “gunslinger” at Alabama. Drafting Waddle only added to this new approach on offense and that got off to a noticeable start on Sunday afternoon when he played in his first NFL game in Foxborough against the New England Patriots.
Waddle was actually called upon for the first play from scrimmage as Miami ran a RPO to the left side of the field, Tua hit him in stride on a slant route that went for 17 yards. You could venture to say the new offensive play-calling staff wanted to get Waddle’s first target out of the way early, to rid him of any potential nervousness.
He answered the call, flashing his speed and elusiveness in the open field. Dolphins fans should get used to Waddle making things happen in the YAC department; if it wasn’t obvious enough on Sunday, it takes a crowd to bring him down. Almost as though a little bit of space is too much, NFL defenses will recognize that and commit more bodies to Waddle. This will only create more opportunities for Miami’s other speedy receivers.
Waddle continued his solid start when he lined up in the slot against Jalen Mills, Waddle sped past Mills with a deep inside fade route down the sideline. Tagovailoa looked off the safety and delivered a 36 yard pass to Waddle, who made a great grab in mid air over Mills, showing off his catch radius. A great kick-start to a drive that ended in a field goal for Miami. On the Dolphin’s following possession, Waddle caught his first NFL touchdown on a 3-yard quick hitter in the red zone.
Waddle streaked halfway across the formation pre-snap, faking a jet sweep. Once the ball was snapped, he flipped his hips and sprinted towards the flat where Tagovailoa delivered the quick pass. Waddle won the race to the endzone against 2 patriot defenders, capping off his ultra-impressive NFL debut. Waddle's 4 receptions, 61 yards and a TD, was the best statistical debut for a WR in Dolphins history.
Overall, Jaylen Waddle looked as advertised...showing us all his true versatility as a football player. Look for him to be having a strong rookie season, filled with game-breaking plays.
By: Hussam Patel
After a fairly wild kickoff to the college football season, Week 2 was even crazier. Underdogs Oregon and Iowa took down perennial powerhouses Ohio State and Iowa State, respectively, in the lone top-25 matchups of the week.
Top-15 teams USC and Texas also lost to Stanford and Arkansas, respectively. Along with that, No. 5 Texas A&M scraped by Colorado and No. 8 Notre Dame eked past Toledo with three-point wins as two-plus touchdown favorites.
Games of the Week
No. 1 Alabama (2-0) at No. 11 Florida (2-0), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, CBS
Players to Watch:
Alabama: The Entire team has NFL talent
Florida: Anthony Richardson, Dameon Pierce, Jacob Copeland, Keon Zipperer, Stewart Reese, Zachary Carter, Brenton Cox Jr, Ventrell Miller, Mohamoud Diabate, Kaiir Elam
Prediction: Alabama 45, Florida 20
No. 22 Auburn (2-0) at No. 10 Penn State (2-0), 7:30 p.m., Saturday, ABC
Players to Watch:
Auburn: Tank Bigsby, Shaun Sivers, Keoindre Jones, Nick Brahms, Owen Pappoe, T.D. Moultry, Nehemiah Pritchett, Roger McCreary, Smoke Monday
Penn State: Sean Clifford, Jahan Dotson, Rasheed Walker, Caedan Wallace, Adisa Isaac, PJ Mustipher, Brandon Smith, Tariq Castro-Fields, Jaquan Brisker
Prediction: Penn State 27, Auburn 17
No. 19 Arizona State (2-0) at No. 23 BYU (2-0), 10:15 p.m., Saturday, ESPN
Players to Watch:
Arizona State: Jayden Daniels, DeaMonte Trayanum, Dohnovan West, Jermayn Lole, Tyler Johnson, Merlin Robertson, Chase Lucas
BYU: Lopini Katoa, Tyler Allegeir, Keanu Hill, Tyler Batty, Uriah Leiataua, Keenan Pili, Isaiah Herron, Malik Moore, Chaz Ah You
Prediction: BYU 23, Arizona State 20
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By: Jason Sarney
After a victorious opener at New England, the Dolphins prepare for another divisional rival as the Buffalo Bills head to Miami Gardens and Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.
Here are your mid-week news and notes heading into Week 2.
-The Dolphins kick-off their home schedule at 1-0 against the 0-1 Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins are 24-15 at Hard Rock Stadium since the 2016 season. (There was a London game that counted as a home game back in 2017).
-MIA has a 61-52-1 all-time record against Buffalo which includes 4 playoff games (MIA 1-3).
-Miami is looking to end a five-game losing streak against the Bills. The Dolphins’ last win against Buffalo was on Dec. 2, 2018.
-Jaylen Waddle was the 6th overall pick in the 2021 Draft & made an impact in his 1st NFL game. Waddle caught a 3-yard TD pass from Tua Tagovailoa in Miami's Week 1 win at New England. His 61 receiving yards were the most by a Dolphin receiver in his NFL debut & 3rd most by any Miami player in their 1st NFL game.
-With 2 fumble recoveries in the win at New England, Miami now has a takeaway streak of 23 consecutive games dating back to November of 2019.
-The Dolphins finished 6th in the NFL in scoring defense in 2020, allowing 21.1 points per game. After holding the Patriots to just 16 points in their Week 1 win on Sunday, Miami is already ahead of last year’s scoring defense pace.
-It will be an ALL FERGUSON Day in Miami when Brothers in Long Snapping & podcasting, share the Hard Rock Stadium field. Reid and Blake... Fun day for the Ferguson family.
-9 different Miami Dolphins got their hands on the ball Sunday against NE: Whether it was Forced Fumbles, Passes Defended or a Fumble recovery.
By. Jones (PD)
X. Howard (FF and FR)
E. Roberts (PD)
-Myles Gaskin has two nice chunk plays of 15 yards against the Patriots. Volume may not ever be there with 20+ touches a game, but efficiency will always be there. 76 scrimmage yards against New England on 14 touches with his 5 catches (led team). He averaged 5.4 yards a touch Sunday.
-Miami made 16 1st downs on Sunday. 9 via the pass and 7 on the ground.
-According to Pro Football Reference, out of his 27 attempts on Sunday, Tua Tagovailoa made 4 "Bad Throws" That's 14.8%
Comparatively to other QBs Week 1:
Herbert (5 bad throws out of 47= 10.9%)
Burrow (5 bad throws out of 27 = 19.2%)
Josh Allen (9 bad throws out of 51 = 18.4%).
-In 50 Games played, Jacoby Brissett has 12 rushing TDs. He is a career backup, and 2021 short-yardage sneaky specialist. O/U on rushing TDs this season is 0.5. Slam the O. (I made that line up and haven't seen it).
-DeVante Parker’s two most productive NFL seasons have come in the past two years. He has had his best years in receptions and yards in 2019-20. His 1,202 receiving yards in 2019 were 5th in the NFL that season.
Coaching quotes from Tuesday's coaches press conference:
On Tua: “I think that’s the position and it’s a very complicated equation. He’s growing each day. There’s a lot of different defenses we see and a lot of different personnel groupings and ways to strategically align that. When you combine our play with the amount of defenses that are possible, there are a lot of variables. We try to give him as many looks as possible; but ultimately when we get to game day, there is probably a new look we’re going to have to discern and make quick decisions. We harp on that with him, and he knows that. It’s a matter of being decisive. We try to give him as many looks of that in practice and move forward from there.” - George Godsey
On the offensive line, and Myles Gaskin: “Just overall with the offensive line, we were able to run the ball at times. It’s hard when you’re looking at an average and you take three knees at the end of the game. That average can kind of get a little skewed. Those guys know there are some opportunities there for some bigger plays. In the pass protection, that’s a good pass rush front. That group will cause some problems during the year for sure. For our situation at line, being able to handle some changes there during the week, and be effective and give us enough time to distribute the ball, we think that group needs to continue to improve but it was a good first outing. As far as the pistol is concerned, it’s another alignment that we look at. Some teams look at it as a back in the back field, other teams still look at it as a (shot)gun. For us, it’s just another formation. Our guys have done a good job of ball-handling to make sure we can execute that when we need to call that. On that particular play, it was well blocked for us to get the 15-yard run.” - George Godsey
-“We were able to run the ball at times.” -George Godsey
-“As far as the pistol is concerned it’s just another alignment” -George Godsey
-Assistant HC/ST coach Danny Crossman- “We have multiple people we feel very confident about in the return game” He references a few “young guys.”
-Danny Crossman mentions the importance of making ST plays to help in the overall field position battle. He was asked about the Touchback on a Michael Palardy punt that Mack Hollins acknowledged he should have downed. Crossman said it’s those plays that need to be made.
“We work with all of our guys as a group.” In terms of drills to start practice to help get to the ball. -Defensive Coordinator Josh Boyer on turnover and fumble creation.
-Regarding rookie Jaelen Phillips, “I think with all players, you expose them to a variety of different things and then ideally what you’d like to do is you’d like to utilize their talents to what they do best within the scheme or the structure of what we’re trying to do, given our game plan. Again, I thought Jaelan did some good things out there. I thought there were some things, like all of us, that we can improve. We’ve kind of put all of that stuff behind us and we’re full steam on Buffalo.” - Josh Boyer
On the "QB Spy" strategy and a matchup like Josh Allen: “I think there’s a time and a place for everything. The game has been around for a long time. I think we’ve kind of seen it all and things go full cycle and I think you just pick out what you feel is best for the group that you have against the group that you’re going against. Without kind of saying too much on that, I think it really comes down to personnel, what they do, what we have and what we can do. I think there’s a number of different options that you have on that. Honestly, it really goes back to you’re just trying to put your players in the best position to succeed.” - Josh Boyer
By: Jason Sarney
The Miami Dolphins started their 2021 season off with a 17-16 road victory against the rival New England Patriots on Sunday. In the aftermath of the game, there were plenty of statistics, quotes, and fun news and nuggets as we look to close out Week 1, and prepare for a Week 2 home opener against another AFC East rival, the 0-1 Buffalo Bills.
The chance for Miami to start 2-0 in the AFC East, and place Buffalo at 0-2 in the AFC, is massive for their seasonal success.
Let's go to the notes:
-The Dolphins are 1-0 in the AFC East and 1-0 on the road. The Bill are 0-1 in the AFC and 0-1 at home. Miami has a chance to go 2-0 in the AFC East next weekend and send Buffalo to 0-2 in the AFC. Miami has 8 home games after next week’s opener.
-MIA Week 1 NE Notes: MIA is now 30-25-1 all-time in season openers & 19-16-1 all-time when opening the season on the road. MIA has won 3 of their last 4 road games since last year and has now won 3 of their last 4 games against NE. 1st time MIA has won 2 of 3 at NE since '99-00.
-MIA under Brian Flores is 1st quarter dominant. George Godsey, in his 1st official series, on the road, at NE, called a 10-play, 80-yard drive that took 5:05, capping it with a Tua walk-in TD. Godsey deserves credit today. He didn't have two if their top 3 WRs.
-Jaylen Waddle officially had the best MIA WR debut game in MIA Team history. His 4 receptions, 61 yards and a TD, put him as the leader in this special franchise rookie category. Andre Brown, in 1989, had a similar line, but with 58 yards, and Eddie Chavis had 4-58 no TDs in 1987.
-Between rookies and new veterans to MIA, 15 brand new Fins played for the Dolphins Sunday.
-On the strength of his 81 yards, DeVante Parker is now in the Magnificent 7 of All-Time MIA WR yardage leaders in receiving. Clayton - Duper - Moore - McDuffie - Chambers - D. Harris - Uncle DeVante He is now 9th in receptions as well.
-Sam Eguavoen recorded three quarterback hits on Mac Jones. Sam had a 4-sack game in the pre-season and apparently hasn't stopped playing since.
-Jerome Baker had a laughable O/U tackle line of 4.5 He led MIA w/ 12 tackles (8solo) on Sunday against NE. He has 323 career tackles (207 solo) in just 49 career games. He was rightfully extended in the off-season, and slowly creeping into MIA LB Lore. Slowly....but surely.
Coach Brian Flores Quotes:
-Coach Flores regarding Will Fuller: "He's got a lot of film from his time in Houston, and we had him all spring, so we have an idea of where we want to play him." he adds: "but, that's practice. We have to get timing." "Timing with the QB. Timing with the running game"
-When asked about the play-calling of Eric Studesville and George Godsey, Brian Flores said (and I'll paraphrase) There were some good drives. There were some bad drives.
Safety, Eric Rowe Quotes:
-"We've been preaching that since the spring, to training camp to the season. It's always 'attack the ball.' Whether it's in the air or on the ground."
-"I wouldn't say anything specific to the TEs. I know on a couple of the plays, the Jonnu (Smith) long play, we had a busted coverage." - on the Tight End coverage.
-On the DEF's sense of redemption for the BUF Game "They did kick our ass last year. We remember that. We are not taking it as a revenge game. New season, new players, new coaches." "It's a big division game, it's the 2021 season, not 2020, & we need to get on them"
DL, John Jenkins:
"We caused fumbles when we needed to cause them, we caused stops when we needed to cause them.”
OL, Jessie Davis:
-On the offensive line performance. "I think we flashed in some areas, but we have a lot to improve on. The first game you always want to get better, but we had some good moments."
-on the RPO: "I think the RPO game was a big party of our game plan going in. We got some big chunk plays."
-"I think he's done a good job - in the huddle, in the offense." "He played well”
RB, Myles Gaskin:
-"I think we just came out; we did what we wanted to do. We knew what plays were going to be called and we executed."
-on MIA's first possession, running out of pistol formation "It's all the same for me, personally. Just trying to hit the holes."
-"Whatever run is called we trust the O-line that they are going to do their jobs."
-"There's room for everybody to contribute" -Myles Gaskin on the Running Back Group and mentions Salvon Ahmed and Malcolm Brown.
By: Brandon Liguori
Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones, two first-round draftees out of the University of Alabama, battled to the very end in Sunday’s season-opening contest in front of a hostile Gillette Stadium crowd, but when it was all said and done, Xavien Howard’s fumble recovery late in the fourth quarter sealed a 17-16 win for Brian Flores’ group, putting the Dolphins alone atop the AFC East after one week of play.
Sunday’s win was just the second time since 2008 that Miami walked out of Gillette Stadium victorious. “Feels good to win. Credit to the players, our coaching staff, offensively, defensively, in the kicking game. Tough game,” Flores said. Tagovailoa, finishing 16-for-27 with 202 yards, a touchdown and an interception, hoisted an ugly fourth-quarter interception on third down to put Jones’ group in great position to run the clock and kick the potential game-winning field goal.
Instead, Howard, fresh off a reconstructed contract this past August, picked up a Damien Harris fumble on 2nd-and-5 from the Miami 22, pretty much ending any hopes of a Patriots come-from-behind victory. “Yeah, I was trying to throw the ball away, but unfortunately that’s not what happened,” Tagovailoa said after the game.
Jones, who threw for 281 yards in his first start of his career, tossed his first NFL touchdown to newly-acquired receiver Nelson Agholor, giving Bill Belichick’s group a 10-7 lead late in the first half. The Patriots would not lead again.
Opening the second half, Tagovailoa was the captain of a nine-play, 78-yard drive that resulted in Jaylen Waddle’s first touchdown as a professional, putting Brian Flores’ group back in front by a touchdown, 17-10.
“It was great. It was a great play call. I think my teammates did good just helping me get open. It was a great call,” Waddle said.
The Dolphins were without two wide receivers Sunday: Preston Williams, ruled out prior to the start of the game because Williams is still rehabbing from a foot injury suffered a season ago and Will Fuller, who finished the final game of his six-game suspension dating back to last season due to violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing substance policy.
Miami has a wonderful opportunity to secure a second consecutive AFC East win and improve to 2-0 in Week 2, welcoming Josh Allen and the talented Buffalo Bills (0-1) to Hard Rock Stadium next Sunday afternoon, as the Dolphins open the home portion of their 2021-22 campaign.
By: Chip Turner
Yesterday, the nation remembered the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, one of the worst days in the lives of countless Americans, myself included. We will never forget.
But as this country has shown, mourning eventually turns to hope. Today is the first day of the NFL season for 30 clubs, and hope springs anew for every single one of them. As the afternoon sun shines down on Gillette Stadium, it will shine brightest on two players; Mac Jones and Tua Tagovailoa. And we can finally start to put all of these narratives about Tua to rest, one way or another.
It’s Truth about Tua Time.
This year should show us whether or not Tua is the future QB of the Miami Dolphins. And maybe, just maybe, all of the talking heads, reporters, prognosticators and pundits will find something new to discuss, like whether or not Tom Brady is literally a vampire.
Never in my life have I seen such overanalysis of a player. Tua has been critiqued for his arm strength, his “lack of wiggle,” his intelligence, his leadership, his durability, his lack of an “it factor,” and his size. He has been criticized both for going deep too much and not going deep enough, he’s had a quote about last year’s playbook taken out of context and then blown out of proportion, and someone even suggested his arrival in Miami was the final sign of the Apocalypse.
Okay, I made that last one up, but it wouldn’t completely surprise me if someone went down that path. The newest narrative is possibly the craziest one of all: “I know what I’m getting from Mac Jones. I don’t know what I’m getting from Tua.” Let’s look at that again: Mac Jones is now a known quantity to some, even though he’s never thrown a regular-season NFL pass. We’re just going to call that one what it is; willful ignorance.
Of course, there’s some reason for hesitation after Tua’s rookie season, so let’s set everything else aside for a second. Let’s COMPLETELY disregard the hip injury, the pandemic, the statements that he wasn’t 100% recovered, the highly questionable play calling, the depleted receiving corps, the lack of separation, the drops, the lack of a running game, the extremely young offensive line…let’s set ALL of that aside.
Tua went 6-3 in an offense that was designed for Ryan Fitzpatrick, with plays being called by an offensive coordinator who reportedly not only threw away most of the notes and schemes that made him valuable, but also had a reduced playbook for Tua. His numbers weren’t gaudy, but they were fine for a rookie – they weren’t all that dissimilar to Joe Burrow’s. They were nowhere near Justin Herbert’s, which isn’t surprising. Herbert only had the best statistical season by a rookie QB in the history of the league.
All things considered, Tua’s rookie season was perfectly fine. Those who judge him as a finished product after that abbreviation of a season simply aren’t in touch with reality, but it sure does make for good TV and generate clicks.
So this afternoon, the talking stops, and the truth about Tua starts to be told. And a lot of people, one way or another, are going to be wrong. I’ve been of the opinion he’s “the guy” all along.
Starting today, he gets to prove it.
By: Jason Sarney
The NFL, and a full slate up games, returns on Sunday! Following a terrific opener on Thursday, if that was any indication, tomorrow should be packed with action! Speaking of action, when heading on over to BetUS.com, the Props Plays are where the quick and easy money is to be made.
The plays that I am going to be focusing on this season will mainly be what I like to call “one-hit-wonder” plays. These are simply plays that only need to happen in one play. Now mind you, it could take all game for it to happen, but it only does take one play, and you don't have to sit there counting receptions or counting yards or waiting for multiple occurrences to happen.
This brings in the “longest reception play.”
Simply put, all you need to happen to win this bet, is for your receiver or tight end to make one catch over the total that the lines said for what his longest reception would be. Some of the top-end players in the league such as, Stefon Diggs and Davante Adams, have gaudy longest reception lines of 26.5 and 25.5, respectively. Calvin Ridley’s over/under total is 27.5 for his longest catch play, and this includes yardage after the catch, so guys with YAC help here.
Sure, it's easy to find the top few players and ride with them, but anything over 25 yards for a lonest play is tough to root for and wait for. What I wanted to do, was come up with a number within numbers, to gauge the best chances of weekly success for individual pass-catchers in the “longest reception” category. Before going into the non-specific and experimental proprietary formula, let’s call it something flashy. We are looking for a number to see the chances of a “hit,” so let’s call it “Hit Score.”
The point of arriving at this Hit Score is taking the weekly over/under line of their longest play. You start there and then you subtract the player's 2020 yards per catch average, since we have no 2021 data yet. After that, I basically put a few other statistics into a blender metaphorically and hit puree. Stats like “yards per target” and even their amount of first downs were calculated.
After the stat mix, there came a percentage, and listed from top to bottom the pass-catchers with what I believe, will be the likeliest and best chances to “hit” their overs. Remember those 24.5-27.5-yard plays in Diggs, Adams and Ridley? Pass on this prop with them, it’s too heavy a total.
Let’s find those sub-20-yard plays at WR and TE, and some names may surprise…and surprise equals SMASH on the Longest Reception plays for Week 1:
The TOP Player in my experiment is a top-end wide-out who could challenge for league-leading yardage. Keenan Allen. Now, Allen had a career-low in yards per catch last season with 9.9. His career average is 11.9, and he has hit 13.7 and 12.3 as little as three and four seasons ago. His 61 1st downs last season indicate he is both a chain mover, clearly, as well as a trusted target of now-sophomore Justin Herbert.
19.5 yards for a top-tier receiver, 8 yards easier than Ridley, makes him the LONGEST RECEPTION WR PLAY of the WEEK with a Hit Score of 45.27% to go along with that attainable 19.5 O/U.
The other 9, that’s right NINE receivers I would smash the over with in this stat Week 1 are the following: including both their O/U marks, as well as their “Hit Score” percentage. (There are WRs with high scores, such as DeAndre Hopkins at 36.44% yet his O/U is a tad rich at 25.5.)
We want the “low-hanging fruit,” in this stat. Nothing over 20.5, and we start with a Steeler.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (20.5 O/U with a HIT SCORE of 49.85%- the overall highest HS% of the Week.) With Big Ben back, and Diontae Johnson coming into his own, and Najee Harris keeping defenses honest, Smith-Schuster is in for a bounce-back year, in yet another contract year. Tough Week 1 match-up at Buffalo, but he could break a 20+ yarder.
Tyler Boyd – With Joe Burrow back, and weapons like Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase adding to the defense's attention, Boyd is sitting with a 19.5 O/U for his long catch, and he is a low-key fantasy gem. Last year was a regression year, but Boyd has a 20-yard play in him against the Vikings on Sunday. Especially if the Bengals go down in the 4th by a few scores, that could be the time he “hits” if not sooner.
Robby Anderson is a solid receiver, and now, he gets a reunion with fellow ex-Jet Sam Darnold. They both play New York at home tomorrow, and this is a double-dosh of revenge. A dish best served quickly. I would put a rather confident wager on the fact that Carolina should bomb a pass to Anderson from Darnold right off the bat to set the tone, and crush Jet Nation from the jump.
Anderson, who averaged 11.5 yards per catch last season, is getting an O/U set at 19.5. This is a player who had 49 first downs in 2020 and a long of 75 yards. Last season's average per reception was vastly different than his potential and what he produced as a Jet. Back with Darnold, in 2018 and 2019, Anderson average 15.0 yards per catch.
This is as close to a “gimme” as you will ever get with the intangibles and the set up with a home match-up, a QB reunion, and a low O/U number.
(CO- Play of the Week) – Robby Anderson – and he’ll score a TD too. +200 to score a TD
5 More Week 1 O/U Longest Reception Plays for WRs:
-Laviska Shenault, Jr. –O/U 19.5 with Hit Score% of 19.89%
-DeVante Parker –O/U 19.5 with Hit Score% of 16.41%
-Brandon Aiyuk –O/U 19.5 with a Hit Score% of 15.46%
-DJ Chark- O/U 19.5 with a Hit Score% of 11.64%
-Emmanuel Sanders- O/U 18.5 with a Hit Score% of 11.2%
To put this into perspective, and for fun, here are the TOP 10 HIT SCORE% leaders for Week 1, regardless of O/U mark:
Tight Ends with easy to reach O/U based on highest HS%:
Logan Thomas: (O/U of 18.5 with a HS% of 31.56%)
T.J. Hockenson: (O/U of 17.5 with a HS% of 19.96%)
Austin Hooper: (O/U of 16.5 with a HS% of 19.45%)
Eric Ebron: (O/U of 15.5 with a HS% of 17.45%)
Noah Fant: (O/U of 17.5 with a HS% of 16.34%)
Top 30 Week 1 Hit Score% Plays (Green indicates 20.5 or lower O/U)
Back Sunday Morning for the rest of the Week 1 Slate
More Prop Plays of the Week!!!
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By: Hussam Patel
Week 1 of College Football wrapped up and there were shockers and snooze fest.
What we knew would happen: Alabama defeating the Miami Hurricanes in a 44-13 route. The Hurricanes played conservatively and play calling was very questionable. Crimson Tide QB Bryce Young sets school record for most passing TDs in debut.
Shockers: Arguably, Notre Dame vs. Florida State is an early favorite for game of the year. No. 9 Irish gave up the lead in the 4th quarter but outlasted the Seminoles in OT. McKenzie Milton, who came back from 3 reconstructive knee surgeries and nerve damage, had a Disney storyline finish that would make anyone root for him
Games of the week
Oregon vs Ohio State, 12 PM EST, FOX
Players to Watch:
Oregon: Kayvon Thibodeux, CJ Verdell, Travis Dye, Alex Forsyth, Noah Sewell, Mykael Wright, Verone McKinley
Ohio State: CJ Stroud, TrayVeyon Henderson, Miyan Williams, Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Thayer Munford, Nicholas Petite-Freire, Haskell Garrett, Zach Harrison, Tyreek Smith
Prediction: Ohio State 35, Oregon 20
Iowa vs Iowa State
Players to Watch:
Iowa: Spencer Patras, Sam LaPorta, Tyler Linderbaum, Jack Campbell, Riley Moss, Jack Koerner
Iowa State: Brock Purdy, Breece Hall, Charlie Kolar, Derekmv Schweinger, Eyioma Uwazurike, Will McDonal IV, Mike Rose, Anthony Johnson Jr. Isheem Young
Prediction: Iowa State 24, IOWA 20 -
Washington vs Michigan
Players to Watch:
Washington: Sam Huard, Giles Jackson, Cade Otton, Jaxson Kirkland, Luke Wattenberg, Zion Tupuola-Fetui*, Edefuan Ulofoshioi, Trent Mcduffie
Michigan: Cade McNamara, Hassan Haskins, A.J. Henning, Ryan Hayes, Christopher Hinton, Aidan Hutchinson, Micheal Barrett, Daxton Hill
Prediction: Washington 30, Michigan 23
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By: Chip Turner
There’s a great scene from the movie Zoolander in which the antagonist, Mugatu, points out something that’s been mostly ignored for much of the movie: All of Derek Zoolander’s fashion looks are exactly the same. “Doesn’t anyone notice this?” he screams. “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”
For the past week or so, I’ve been repressing my inner Mugatu as the Patriots have been picked not only as the favorite for a wild-card berth in the AFC, but also as home favorites against the Miami Dolphins for Week One. This isn’t to say that the Patriots are a bad team; they’re not. It just appears that everyone outside of Miami (and to be honest, some of the people in Miami) are taking the Dolphins a bit lightly.
Here are a few thoughts to consider before you waste some of that hard-earned cash betting against the Dolphins this week. For emphasis, imagine me screaming these, Mugatu-style:
And yet, Miami is an underdog to a team that finished three games behind them in the standings last year. Yes, New England spent a bundle on free-agent acquisitions Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Yes, Bill Belichick is still their head coach. But at some point in time, we need to realize that “because they’re the Patriots” is being used as justification for picking them to win games.
And at some point, people are going to realize that “because they’re the Patriots” doesn’t mean what it used to mean. Here’s a quick breakdown of which position groups I believe have the advantage this upcoming Sunday.
Quarterbacks: This is the most important bit right here. Maybe someday Mac Jones has his own legacy, but let’s at least have him throw a regular-season NFL pass first. Advantage: Miami.
Offensive Lines vs Defensive Lines: I’m not going to get into this in too much depth; New England’s offensive line is one of their biggest strengths, and their defensive line is underrated. Miami can get very creative with their schemes, and I’m of the opinion Jaelan Phillips gets a lot of work on Sunday, but the difference in the offensive lines is too much to ignore. Advantage: New England.
Run Games vs Run Defenses: I keep hearing about how New England is going to run the ball down Miami’s throat all day. Yes, New England has the superior offensive line, and I think that New England’s backfield is marginally more talented than Miami’s, but there’s something a lot of people are overlooking here.
New England couldn’t stop the run last year. They finished 26th in the league in yardage allowed, and gave up over 163 yards per game in their last three contests. Yes, they were without Dont’a Hightower and added Kyle Van Noy, but both of those two are on the wrong side of 30, and Van Noy seemed to lose a step last year. Advantage: Even
Passing Offense vs. Passing Defense: The secondaries would be a longer conversation if Stephon Gilmore was playing. He isn’t. I’m not going to discount J.C. Jackson, and Belichick is a master at disguising coverages and hiding weaknesses, but Miami has one of the premiere CB tandems in the NFL, and the secondary as a whole got better with the additions of Justin Coleman, Jason McCourty, and Jevon Holland.
Regarding receivers, I’m aware that the Pats added Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry and Nelson Agholor. But if you’re going to try to argue that the Patriots receiving corps is superior to Miami’s when healthy…pack a lunch. Advantage: Miami
Coaching: Yes, Brian Flores was a Coach of the Year candidate last year. Yes, an argument can be made that Bill Belichick was somewhat dependent on Tom Brady for his success. But…c’mon. Advantage: New England
Special Teams: Jason Sanders is one of the league’s best kickers. Michael Palardy has looked outstanding this preseason. Jakeem Grant is one of the top return men in the NFL. This unit, which used to be a weakness on the Dolphins, has become a strength under Coach Flores. Advantage: Miami.
Final Score: Miami 28, New England 20.
By: Jason Sarney
It's almost here! Week 1 is upon us! The Miami Dolphins are 29-25-1 all-time in season openers & 18-16-1 when opening the season on the road. Miami lost to New England in last year's opener but won at Hard Rock in December.
Miami holds the all-time series lead 57-54, which includes 3 playoff matchups, and here are some other news, notes, and nuggets.
-(As of Sept. 6, 2021) via Miami website; the roster breakdown:
23 OFF players
26 DEF players
3 ST players
-23 players were drafted by the Dolphins- 4 UDFAs
-17 TOTAL full-time Dolphins were not drafted in NFL
-46 on the main roster are UNDER 28 years old
-50 are 30 or younger.
-Former Patriots, now Dolphins include, from Front office to the sidelines, to the field - Brian Flores, Josh Boyer George Godsey, Mike Judge, Chris Grier, Marvin Allen, Eric Rowe, Justin Coleman, Jason McCourty, Elandon Roberts Adam Butler, and Jacoby Brissett.
-In The last 5 meetings, Miami has won 3 and lost 2 games against New England.
-Miami's success last year had lots to do w/ their starts to games, unlike recent years past. Miami's 1st-quarter scoring defense was 4th in the NFL at 3.4 points allowed. The Defense's 8 takeaways were 4in the 1st quarter as well. They had a +48 1st quarter scoring differential. 2nd in NFL.
-The average Dolphins 1st quarter last season was Miami 6.4 and their opponents 3.4 TD to FGs. This is a good thing.
-Miami had a terrific team in 2002. Last year's team outscored its opponents by a 404-338 margin. The +66 point differential was the best by a Dolphins team since that 2002 season, when Miami was +77 on the season, and had Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas Pat, Sam and Ricky Williams.
-Just a reminder - Tua, at 6-3 last season as a rookie ADDS to his arsenal - Will Fuller, Jaylen Waddle, and Albert Wilson. With a sprinkle of Hunter Long as a new target as well.
-In just 7 games played in 2018, Albert Wilson totaled 391 receiving yards & 4 TDS. So - that's about an average of 55 yds per game. Let's say he plays 14 games in 2021 at that pace. That's around 782 yards, & a TD pace would equate to about 8.
-The name of the game is keeping your offense on the field and your defense off. Miami’s 3rd-down defense in 2021 was the best in the NFL, limiting opponents to just a 31.2 conversion rate. That is the 2nd-best mark in Miami history and the best was back in 1999, at 28.8 percent
-The Dolphins LB leaders of Jerome Baker and Andrew Van Ginkel are enhanced by free agents Duke Riley and Brennan Scarlett and rookie Jaelan Phillips. This LB room gets over-looked on the overall defense. Don't overlook them this season.
-Miami had three games in 2020 in which they did not allow an opponent TD. One game was their win against New England Week 15 at home. They held the Patriots to 12 points on all FGs in a 22-12 win. Mac Jones debuts as a NFL QB against an elite defense in a few days.
-Jason Sanders led the NFL with 20 field goals made from 40+ and was 2nd in the NFL with 8 FGs of 50+ yards. He has made 5 game winnings kicks.
-The Miami Depth Chart has Preston Williams behind DeVante Parker as WR1. Jaylen Waddle & Albert Wilson as WR2. Then Jakeem Grant & Mack Hollins as WR3 as per chart. Mind you; Preston was listed 4th or 5th on Depth in 2019, and started the 1st series, & was targeted.
-As of September 6th, as per Miami Media Guide The Miami Offensive Line Depth Chart:
LT Austin Jackson - Greg Little
LG Solomon Kindley - Robert Jones
C Michael Dieter - Greg Mancz
RG Robert Hunt - Robert Jones
RT Jesse Davis - Liam Eichenberg
-In my opinion the most important defense of player on the field for the Miami Dolphins on Sunday will be Eric Rowe. A pair of talented TEs in Smith and Henry.
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Top 2020 teams in Against the Spread Record:
MIA - 68.8&
BUF - 63.2%
BAL - 61.1%
GB - 61.1%
TB 0 60%
WORST ATS in 2020
DAL - 31.2%
MIN - 37.5%
NYJ - 37.5%
PHI - 37.5%
HOU - 37.5%
-56.2% of Miami's games last season were UNDER score totals.
-For all the OVER bettors:
TOP 10 TEAMS in 2020 with OVER score outcomes combined with their opponents:
LV - 80% of games went OVER
TEN - 75%
MIN - 68%
BUF - 66.7%
DET - 62.5%
GB - 61%
IND - 58.8%
DAL - 56.2%
LAC - 56.2%
CLE - 55.6%.
-Preston Williams is +750 to score a TD on Sunday He scored Week 1 as a Rookie. +750 25 gets you 212 Will Fuller out.
-Myles Gaskin is at 67.5 combined rushing and receiving yards and that is an OVER to slam the farm on. Last year in games that he played in he averaged 97 yards from scrimmage. This is a gimme 42 rushing 32 receiving That’s my guesstimate.
--Jerome Baker is OVER 4.5 tackles against NE and pays +125. His career, in 6 NE games, he has 60 total tackles. That’s an average of 10 a game. If he gets HALF this average against NE.... You win.
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By Hussam Patel
College Football is officially back tomorrow, with a huge slate of games. Let's take a look at the three most noteworthy games:
#13 Wisconsin v #19 Penn State. 12 PM EST, FOX
Players to Watch:
Wisconsin: Graham Mertz, Jake Ferguson, Tyler Beach, Kayden Lyles, Keanu Benton, Jack Sanborn, Leo Chenal, Scott Nelson.
Penn State: Sean Clifford, Jahan Dotson, Rasheed Walker, Caedan Wallace, Adisa Isaac, PJ Mustipher, Brandon Smith, Tariq Castro-Fields, Jaquan Brisker.
#14 Miami v #1 Alabama. 3:30 PM EST, ABC
Players to Watch:
Miami: D’Eriq King, Cam’ron Harris, Charleston Rambo, Zion Nelson, Nesta Jade Silvera, Zach McCloud, DJ Ivey, Bubba Bolden.
Alabama: The Entire Team
#3 Clemson v #5 Georgia. 7:30 PM EST, ABC
Players to Watch:
Georgia: J.T. Daniels, Zamir White, James Cook, Kearis Jackson, Arik Gilbert, Jamaree Salyer, Justin Shaffer, Jordan Davis, Travon Walker, Adam Anderson, Derion Kendrick, Tykee Smith, Lewis Cine.
Clemson: DJ Uiagalelei, Justyn Ross, Joe Ngata, Jordan McFadden, Bryan Bresee, Myles Murphy, James Skalski, Andrew Booth Jr., Trenton Simpson.
By: Chip Turner
The preseason is over, the roster has been trimmed, and a fully-recovered Tua Tagovailoa is ready to lead the Miami Dolphins. The calendar has turned to September, and Week One is just 10 days away.
It’s time for Miami Dolphins football.
What follows is a week-by-week analysis of the first 8 games of the Miami Dolphins season. This is, of course, a week-to-week league, injuries happen, and what teams look like in September can be very different from what they look like in January. Hence, I’m only predicting the first eight weeks of the season.
Week One - @ Patriots. 9/12 at 4:25 pm
Some people don’t like the time of this game. I love it. It’s very, very likely that this will be the final game of the afternoon to conclude, and a large portion of the national audience will be paying attention to this broadcast in the fourth quarter.
So…I know that they’re the Patriots. And I know that Bill Belichick is very good at hiding his teams’ weaknesses. But here are a few things that are factual, and cannot be spun:
1)The Patriots’s starters at WR are currently Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers. I’m aware of what Agholor did against the Dolphins in that berserk Raiders game last year, but this duo shouldn’t scare anyone in the NFL.
2)This will be Mac Jones’s first NFL start. I know some New England media outlets are ready to declare him the next Tom Brady, but let’s not compare him to the best QB in league history until he throws a regular season pass, okay?
3)Stephon Gilmore is out. Yes, JC Jackson is a good CB, and there might not be a better team at disguising coverages in the NFL, but that Patriots secondary is starting to look very thin and old after him. Quick show of hands; who in New England feels comfortable with Jalen Mills playing boundary corner? That’s what I thought.
Prediction: I’d love to predict a blowout for Miami here, but I don’t think that’s realistic, even though the Patriots tend to be slow starters. The Dolphins get a decent lead and hold on. Miami wins 28-20.
Week Two – vs Buffalo. 9/19 at 1:00 pm
This is Miami’s home opener, and I expect it to be near full capacity. I’m looking forward to this game, and I’m curious to see what sort of noise a stadium full of Dolphins fans will sound like with the roof in place (remember, that’s supposed to reflect sound back down to the field.)
Make no mistake, Buffalo is now one of the best teams in the league, and Josh Allen is one of the best QBs.
I don’t think Brian Flores likes being embarrassed. And the Bills embarrassed the Dolphins in the final game of the season last year. If Miami wants to become a contender for the AFC East crown, they’re going to have to go through Buffalo to do it. Do I think that crowning happens this year? No, but I think this is the game that makes people sit up, pay attention, and realize that the Miami Dolphins are getting there much faster than anyone anticipated. Jaelan Phillips announces his presence in the NFL with authority. Miami wins 31-30.
Week Three - @ Las Vegas. 9/26 at 4:05 pm
Anyone who has listened to me speak about the Raiders can attest to this: I don’t have any idea what Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock are doing…and I’m not sure they do, either. While I like their ends in Crosby and Ngakoue, there’s not a whole lot else on this team that concerns me except for Darren Waller, and I’d like to think the Dolphins learned from their mistake with him last time. Some might think of this as a revenge game for the Raiders. I’m of the opinion this will be the game that illustrates the stark difference between “2020 Tua” and “2021 Tua.” Miami wins 35-14. Yeah, I said it.
Week Four – vs. Indy, 10/3 at 1:00 pm
I really struggled with this one, for a few reasons. First, I am of the opinion that Frank Reich is a very, very good coach. Second, I think he’s going to be able to revive the career of Carson Wentz, whom I believe was bereft of talent and coaching last year. Third, every NFL team has games they just come out flat for.
However, I just can’t convince myself that this is that game. Carson might start rounding back into form, but I don’t know if it’s this early. If this game was later in the season or on the road, I’d probably flip the score, but Miami wins 24-21.
Week Five - @ Tampa Bay, 10/10 at 1:00 pm
“Young.” “Upstart.” “Surprising.” Get ready to hear all of these adjectives used about the Dolphins heading into this game against the defending Super Bowl Champions. 4-0 heading into this game? Who would have thought this was possible?
Well, me. And yes, that Week Two Buffalo game prediction keeps staring at me and saying, “you sure?” Regardless, Miami should have everyone’s attention at this point, and the question will be “Can this plucky Brian Flores team beat the champs in their house?”
Alas, no. Tampa Bay at full strength proves to be a little too much for Miami on the road. Tampa Bay wins 28-21.
Week Six - @ Jacksonville in London, 10/17 at 9:30 am
Breakfast tea and biscuits for everyone! Two of the more heralded college QB prospects in recent memory go head-to-head as Tua and Lawrence face off. While I think both quarterbacks will live up to their potential, Lawrence is going to have some growing pains.
I don’t think Jacksonville is going to be a very good team this year. I also don’t think Urban Meyer is a very good pro football coach.
Miami wins this one handily, 31-7.
Week Seven – vs. Atlanta, 10/24 at 1:00 pm
Remember that thing I said earlier about NFL teams being flat every once in a while? This is the game that just screams “letdown” to me. Two tough games in a row, followed by a trip to London, then back home for a game against the Falcons. They should beat the Falcons, and I suspect they’ll be favored for it.
But on any given Sunday….
Atlanta wins 41-38 after a Tua comeback in the fourth quarter comes up just short.
Week Eight - @Buffalo, 10/31 at 1:00 pm
Halloween in Orchard Park. What could be more fun? Well…lots of things, probably. We’ll get plenty of pre-game festivities as countless costumed Buffalonians fling themselves through folding tables.
Folks, this is going to turn into a rivalry again, very quickly. A cold, blustery October day will result in low scoring, hard hitting, and a closer-than-expected result.
Buffalo wins, 17-14.
Miami finishes a difficult first eight games with a 5-3 record. The second half predictions will take place in a couple months, but here’s a teaser: They play the Jets twice and Houston once.