The Miami Dolphins are still one of the most talent deprived teams in the NFL but they’ve been playing hard for first year head coach Brian Flores. That Flores has been able to win 3 games including 3 of their last 5 and cover 6 of their last 8 with this XFL level roster is quite a testament to his ability to coach in the NFL. Miami hits the road this week heading to MetLife Stadium and a rematch with the New York Jets. The Jets were on the losing end of the Dolphins first victory of the year on 11/3 and that puts the pressure on New York and head coach Adam Gase not to lose to what many perceive (incorrectly) as the worst team in the National Football League twice in one season.
The Jets are definitely a better team with Sam Darnold at quarterback but last week was a ‘wakeup call’ for the New York fans and media. After a three game winning streak with victories over the Giants, Redskins and Raiders the Jets looked awful in a 22-6 loss at Cincinnati–giving yet another winless team their first victory of the year. This might be the Jets last ‘winnable’ game of the season–they play at Baltimore next week, home against Pittsburgh on 12/22 and at Buffalo to end the season.
Can’t take anything away from the effort that Flores is getting out of his troops but the Dolphins have been a poor road team in recent years. They’re 3-2 ATS this year despite a 1-4 SU record but over the past three seasons they’re just 4-17 SU/7-14 ATS. Miami catches a break with the weather which by the standards of December in the Northeast is pretty nice with partly cloudy skies and a high of 46. That might not help them against a team that considered their earlier season loss to Miami an embarrassment and is coming off another embarrassment in their previous game.
To be fair, the Jets have been an awful favorite in recent years going 0-3 SU/ATS as chalk this year and 2-6 SU/ATS as chalk during the previous three years. They’re also on a 2-6 ATS run against conference opponents this year and a 3-13 SU/5-15 ATS run against divisional rivals over the past three seasons. And they’re not much in revenge games either–0-5 SU/1-4 ATS this year and 5-11 SU/7-9 ATS over the last three seasons. This is a bit different from a garden variety revenge game. Losing to a pair of winless teams in a season is ‘bad optics’ and the sort of thing that could cost Adam Gase his job. Throw in the fact that the Dolphins are Gase’s former team and a victory hear becomes all the more imperative. The team has all but confirmed that he’ll be back next season but that could change on a dime if the brutal New York media goes on a feeding frenzy.
This is a tough spot for the Dolphins as they’re coming off a big win over Philadelphia at home last week where they won 37-31 as +10 underdogs. This would be a potential letdown spot for any team but for such a talent deprived squad it could be lethal. There’s a real risk that the Dolphins might be starting to think that they’re better than they are. The Jets level of effort is always an iffy thing but this is a massively huge revenge game for their coach and if the players have any professional pride they’ll want to redeem themselves for the previous loss to Miami and last week’s stinker at Cincinnati.