Sunday’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins is the rescheduled game from the season opener, which was postponed due to Hurricane Irma. Unfortunately, these two teams are now meeting under far different circumstances than the optimistic vibes fans were feeling at the beginning of the season. The loser of this game will, for all intents and purposes, be eliminated from the playoff hunt. The winner will live to fight another week. Can the Dolphins win at home and stay within striking distance of the final AFC Wild Card spot or will the Buccaneers find a way to inch closer to .500 and an NFC Wild Card spot? Kickoff inside Hard Rock Stadium is at 1 PM ET.
Since 2000, these two Florida based teams have faced off against each other just 4 times. The Buccaneers hold a 3-1 record against the Dolphins. They have not played each other since 2013 and the Bucs won that game 22-19.
Tampa Bay (3-6) is 1-5 in their last 6 games and broke their 5 game losing streak last weekend as they defeated the New York Jets. Battling their second AFC East opponent in a row, the Bucs hope for the same result and pull one game closer to .500 on the season. Tampa will have to rely on backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick as starting quarterback Jameis Winston is still out with an injured shoulder. Can Fitzpatrick pull off some “Fitzmagic” against the Dolphins this weekend? He comes in with a 5-5 career record against Miami.
Miami (4-5) has lost 3 straight games and have fallen behind a handful of teams for the final AFC Wild Card spot. Additionally, they had the hat trick of embarrassment as they lost on Thursday Night football, Sunday Night football, and Monday Night football over their last 3 games. During that span, they have been outscored 112-45. The Dolphins need a win badly, but will they get it against a struggling Bucs team?
The spread opened at Miami favored by 3 points. It currently sits as a PICK for this game. The Over/Under opened at 40.5 points and, depending on the sports book, it’s moved up to 42 total points.
I’m really having a hard time seeing these two teams score over 42 points. It seems like such a small number, but these are two inept offenses that have really struggled to put points on the board over the last month.
On the season, Miami is the lowest scoring team in the league with just 15.2 points per game. Over their last 3 games, they’ve averaged 13.7 ppg. The Bucs aren’t much better. For the season, Tampa is averaging 19.2 ppg. But, over the last 3 games, they have averaged 9.3 ppg.
Both teams can’t run the ball. Miami is totaling 80.1 yards per game on the ground and Tampa is gaining 82.8 ypg on the ground. These are two of the worst rushing teams in the league. Without any credible run game, both quarterbacks will be counted on to win the game via their arm. Unfortunately, neither is really capable of that in this game. So, we are left with a potential low scoring, defensive battle like what Tampa had last weekend against the Jets.
3 out of the last 4 games between these two teams finished at 41 points or less and that was when they actually had some kind of offensive success. This year, both offenses look like they’ve already quit on the season.
Because both teams seem so inept right now, it’s hard to pick either one of them to win. Therefore, the best bet in this game is the Under.
In 4 of Tampa’s last 6 games, the Under hast hit. It’s also 4-0 in Tampa’s last 4 November games. The Under has hit in 3 straight Buccaneer games.
With no running game, two subpar quarterbacks, low-scoring offenses, and two good defenses, it’s hard to see how these teams will break 36 points, let alone 42. I don’t see either quarterback leading their teams into the endzone more than once apiece. This has field goal battle written all over it. If I had to guess a score, I would say Tampa 19 – Miami 17.