Raiders @ Dolphins
Oakland Raiders 28, Miami Dolphins 25
Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Can Derek Carr and Amari Cooper put a productive game together like they did versus the Chiefs in Week 7? Oakland will have Marshawn Lynch back for this contest, but at some point, it would be nice to see even a glimpse of last year’s success through the air. The Dolphins enjoyed zero successes through the air last Thursday, at least not for their own team. The Ravens sure partied (in the end zone) on Matt Moore‘s interceptions. Perhaps the additional three days off will help Adam Gase’s team, but we saw what the extra rest did for the Raiders in Buffalo. … It gave them three more days to wait before getting blown out. Not surprisingly, the Dolphins have the worst point differential (-60) of any team with a winning record after seven games in NFL history. That’s a gem from researcher @RealJackAndrade. He often takes a deep dive into Darwinism at the office.
(-3) Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins, 8:30 p.m. Mike: Raiders. The Dolphins have the worst offense in football this season, and they just traded away Jay Ajayi, who’s arguably their biggest offensive weapon. This team clearly has issues and Adam Gase probably hopes it’s addition by subtraction, but this is a nice get-right spot for the Raiders, who can’t be as bad as their record … right? Andre: Raiders. Neither team forces turnovers and both defenses allow a ton of yards. But in a game of “all-else-equal,” I’m going to take Derek Carr over whoever Jay Cutler. The Dolphins also average a league-low 4.1 yards per play. Yuck. Ricky: Dolphins. The Raiders struggle on the East Coast (4-20 in their last 24 such games). The Dolphins, meanwhile, have won 11 consecutive home games against West Coast teams. With deep threat DeVante Parker returning for the Dolphins and Jay Cutler back under center, their offense actually might score against the Raiders’ defense.
The Raiders and Dolphins were the AFC’s two wild-card teams in 2016. It’s not looking good for either to return to the playoffs. Survivor Pick: Oakland.
Do I dare take the Raiders here? In the past 14 years, they have been an Eastern Time Zone favorite just five timed and they have lost and failed to cover all five. That includes earlier this year as a field-goal favorite in Washington, also a Sunday night game, and were routed 27-10. Well, that’s fine but Miami isn’t Washington. This is desperation time for Oakland at 3-5 and off a very flat 34-14 loss last week in Buffalo – after a season-saving win the previous week against Kansas City. The Raiders didn’t have Marshawn Lynch vs. the Bills, but he’ll return here. Lynch won’t make a 20-point difference, but he can move the chains despite a career-low 3.7 yards per carry average. I’m embarrassed to say that I picked Miami as a short favorite last Thursday in Baltimore and the Fins completely laid an egg in a 40-0 loss. Jay Cutler was out with cracked ribs and backup QB Matt Moore was simply awful, throwing two picks that were returned for a touchdown. Cutler will play Sunday – not that he’s much of an upgrade. The last time these teams played was Week 4 in the 2014 season. Miami won handily in London and Oakland fired Coach Dennis Allen the next day.
- Road team is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
- Dolphins are 6-13 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
Free NFL Pick: Raiders -3 (buy down to 2.5)
Best Line Offered: GT Bets
I am very curious how the Miami players will react this week to the team trading 2016 Pro Bowl running back Jay Ajayi to the Eagles for just a fourth-round pick. Ajayi was probably the biggest reason the Fins made the playoffs last year was he was one of the NFL’s top five running backs and had three 200-yard games, including back-to-back once. Yeah, Ajayi had struggled this year and his 138 attempts were the most of any player in the NFL without a rushing TD. The Dolphins are the first team since the 2013 Rams without a rushing touchdown in their first seven games, and the team’s streak of eight games without a rushing touchdown is a franchise record. Miami is spinning this that Ajayi’s knees are about shot. Maybe, but when you have the NFL’s worst offense, do you turn your backfield over to Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake? The Raiders haven’t been great on defense overall but their red-zone defense ranks fifth in the NFL, holding opponents to only a 40.0% touchdown success rate, trailing only the Bengals, Chargers, Seahawks and Ravens.
- Under is 6-2 in Dolphins last 8 games overall.
- Under is 6-2 in Raiders last 8 road games.