In-state foes will clash on Sunday when the Miami Dolphins take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Miami is off to a disappointing 1-4 start after getting beaten 45-17 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last weekend as an 11-point road underdog. Jacksonville is also coming off a blowout loss on Sunday by a 37-19 scoreline against the Tennessee Titans as a four-point home underdog, and is still searching for its first win at 0-5 on the season.
This all-time series is knotted up at five wins apiece after Miami picked up a 31-13 victory at Jacksonville last September.
Miami no match for Bucs, loses fourth straightThings are quickly unraveling for the Dolphins, who entered the season with high hopes but are quickly falling out of contention after losing to Tampa Bay last weekend and don't even have a first-round pick in the next draft to play for. Miami actually built an early 10-7 lead on Myles Gaskin's 24-yard touchdown catch near the end of the first quarter and was still within one score midway through the third on another score from Gaskin, but the Buccaneers then went off for three touchdowns in a seven-minute span to put things away.
Filling in for the injured Tua Tagovailoa, quarterback Jacoby Brissett completed 27 of 39 pass attempts for 275 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Gaskin finished with five carries for 25 yards plus 10 catches for 74 yards and the two scores to lead the Dolphins in both categories. Tampa Bay finished with a huge 558-301 advantage in total yards, and two Dolphins turnovers didn't help matters.
“I’m concerned,” head coach Brian Flores said to the Miami Herald regarding a promising defense that has fallen apart this season. “We’re out of sync in a lot of ways. Run defense, pass defense, pass rush. We’re a little bit of a step behind, I would say. We’ve got to make a lot of corrections. [There’s] a lot of things we need to address, and we’ll do that. We’ve been doing that. We’ve addressed some things, but we’re not seeing the production on Sundays. Really, that’s all that matters.”
Miami is 2-3 against the spread this season, including an outright loss in the only game it has been favored in two weeks ago against the Indianapolis Colts. Overs are 3-2 for the Dolphins, with each of their last three games going over the betting total.
With the injury to its starting quarterback looming large, Miami is second to last in scoring with an average of 15.8 points per game on 261.8 yards per contest. Miami's defense has regressed heavily in 2021, with opponents putting up 30.8 points and 422.2 yards per game, both bottom three marks in the NFL.
Tagovailoa is set to return to the starting lineup after missing nearly four whole games, having gone 17/31 passing for 215 yards, one touchdown and one interception before suffering fractured ribs back in Week 2. Gaskin has ran the ball 34 times for 167 yards in addition to reeling in 22 catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns, while rookie Jaylen Waddle is off to a fast start with 27 receptions for 231 yards and a score. Christian Wilkins is having a standout season for the Dolphins defense with 25 tackles including five for a loss, two sacks, four quarterback hits and a pass breakup.
Brissett suffered a hamstring injury late last Sunday and is questionable, so it's unclear who will be the backup quarterback as Tagovailoa returns. Leading receiver DaVante Parker is questionable after missing Thursday's practice with a shoulder injury while Preston Williams is questionable due to a groin problem, further limiting a wideout room that is already missing Will Fuller V (finger), Lynn Bowden Jr. (hamstring) and Allen Hurns (wrist). Tight end Adam Shaheen is questionable with a knee problem. Offensive linemen Michael Deiter (foot) and Lamel Coleman (knee) are on injured reserve. On the defensive side, top corner Xavien Howard is questionable after missing practice this week with a shoulder injury, while fellow defensive back Byron Jones has been limited by an Achillies problem.
Jaguars losing streak reaches 20 gamesIt's been a nightmare season for the Jaguars both on and off the field in the first year under head coach Urban Meyer, and they remain winless after getting steamrolled by the Titans at home last Sunday. Touchdowns by James Robinson and Jacob Hollister kept the Jaguars within striking distance in the first half, but Tennessee would go up 31-13 early in the third quarter, and a four-yard scoring run by rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence early in the fourth wasn't enough for a rally as Jacksonville was stuffed four times on the goal line on in its following drive.
Lawrence went 23 of 33 passing for 273 yards, one touchdown and one interception while adding seven carries for 28 yards and a score. Robinson had a huge game with 18 carries for 149 yards and a touchdown, while recently acquired tight end Dan Arnold led the Jaguars in receiving with six catches for 64 yards. Jacksonville actually finished with a 454-368 advantage in total yards, but was undone by two turnovers and two failed fourth-down conversions including one just a yard away from the end zone with a chance to make it a one-score game late.
“I see a group of warriors. I see a group of players that I love to death,” Meyer said to the Associated Press. “I see a group of players that are spilling it on the field and we’re not getting it. We’re not closing it out.”
The Jaguars have also struggled against the spread at 1-4, with the only cover coming two weeks ago when they were able to keep within a field goal of the Cincinnati Bengals as a 7.5-point underdog. Overs are 2-3 for the Jaguars after last Sunday's game cleared the betting total of 49 points to snap a run of three straight unders.
It hasn't been pretty on either side of the ball for Jacksonville, with the offense putting up an average of 18.6 points and 348 yards per game this year. Jacksonville's defense is also ranked in the bottom five across the league, with opponents putting up 30.4 points and 408.4 yards per game.
Lawrence is still adjusting to life in the NFL, having completed 104 of 175 pass attempts for 1,146 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions while adding 110 yards and two scores as a scrambler. Robinson is having another strong year with 67 carries for 387 yards and four touchdowns, while Laviska Shenault Jr. leads the team in receiving with 20 catches for 252 yards. Josh Allen is the leader of the Jacksonville defense with 18 tackles including two for a loss, 2.5 sacks, five quarterback hits and two pass breakups.
Key linebacker Myles Jack (oblique) and defensive tackle Rashaad Coward (ankle) have been ruled out of Sunday's game. There are plenty of questions along the offensive line, with Ben Bartch (groin) and Tyler Shatley (groin) both questionable plus A.J. Cann (knee) and Brandon Linder (knee) already on injured reserve. Cornerback Tyson Campbell is questionable with a toe injury, while Tre Herndon is out with a knee problem. Top receiver D.J. Chark remains out with an ankle problem.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
These might be the two worst teams in the NFL right now, but it's hard not to fade the Dolphins as things could quickly spiral out of control in a season where they expected to contend, while Jacksonville is at least a very young squad that should get better with more experience each week. This is Jacksonville's best chance to break a historic losing streak, and it will at least keep things within a field goal against a Dolphins team that hasn't shown many positive things on either side of the ball.
Tagovailoa's return will help this woeful Dolphins offense, but only to an extent as he isn't getting much support from a run game that hasn't provided anything plus a wide receiver room that is dealing with a ton of injuries. Miami's biggest concern is a terrible offensive line that is near the bottom of the NFL leaderboard with a 7.80% sack rate allowed among other issues, and Jacksonville at least has a couple of impact players up front like Allen and rising youngster K'lavon Chaisson to cause some problems.
After performing at an excellent level last season, Miami's defense has suddenly collapsed with 5.9 yards per play allowed, and Lawrence is only getting better each week with his best showings in the last two games. As much as the Jaguars have struggled, they will be hungry for a win against a beatable Dolphins team that can't be trusted to cover as a favorite.
Full-Game Total Pick
These teams have struggled on both sides of the ball, but there is some talent at the skill positions that a pair of horrendous defenses won't be able to contain enough, particularly given the injury concerns both are dealing with. Jacksonville faced plenty of questions this week about why Robinson hasn't been involved more, and increasing his usage rate will help the Jaguars offense kick it up a level as he's averaging 5.8 yards per carry this season and was terrific as a rookie in 2020.
The Jaguars are dead last in the NFL with 6.3 yards per play allowed while getting shredded by some bad opposing offenses like the Houston Texans, and the injury to one of their more established players in Jack will make the situation even worse. All the injuries to the cornerbacks on both teams will help these young quarterbacks out, and they will be able to clear a low total in this matchup between two of the NFL's worst defenses.