The Las Vegas Raiders will try to keep their unblemished preseason record intact when heading to South Beach on Saturday to take on the Miami Dolphins. They steamrolled the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Hall of Fame Game before eking out a win last Sunday over the Minnesota Vikings.
Now, they’ll be tasked with overcoming a head-to-head meeting with a Dolphins team that just handed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a loss on the road. Raiders coach Josh McDaniels is now 4-6 in preseason games, while first-year Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel is 1-0.
Do we even need to see Carr?The Raiders haven’t lost a game, and Jarrett Stidham is turning heads in the battle for the role of backup quarterback. Do we really need to see Derek Carr?
There’s a good chance Raiders coach Josh McDaniels is asking himself the very same thing. Carr has looked great at training camp, and there really is no reason for risking injury for himself or even All-Pro wideout Davante Adams in a preseason game.
So it could be more of Stidham, who should have no issues attacking a Dolphins secondary that got chewed up by rookie Kyle Trask and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their opener. While Stidham has shown issues with being unreliable with the ball at times, there are also times when he can stand in the pocket and deliver the sort of throws you’d typically see from an NFL starter.
However, things could interesting if the Raiders get away from Stidham and veteran Nick Mullens in favor of more work from rookie Chase Garbers. The workload for the first-timer has been limited so far in the preseason.
On the other side of the ball, the Raiders will have to do a better job of defending against the rushing attack considering they gave up 115 yards on the ground to Minnesota last week.
Will Tagovailoa get his wish?Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is hell-bent on getting under center and starting in Saturday’s game against the Raiders. And honestly, he could probably use the reps considering he’s been piling up interceptions in recent practices.
I get trying to keep your quarterback healthy, but that isn’t the kind of thing you want hanging over your starting signal-caller entering the regular season. Tagovailoa may simply need a series or two to build that confidence before real football gets here.
The Raiders are still struggling to come up with takeaways, as evident by some of the dropped interception opportunities from their game against the Vikings. But aside from the lack of big plays on defense, they were stout against the pass in a game where they held Minnesota’s quarterbacks to less than 200 passing yards combined.
If there’s one area the Dolphins could look to exploit, it would be on the ground, which could be right up backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s alley considering his scrambling abilities. This game will likely also feature more of rookie seventh-round draft pick Skylar Thompson, who went 20-of-28 for 218 yards and one touchdown against the Buccaneers.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
We have seen plenty of Jarrett Stidham and Nick Mullens in these practices. I believe this will be more of a Chase Garbers game for the Raiders. The rookie quarterback needs a sink or swim opportunity at some point, right?
There’s also a chance Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel could give into quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s wishes by giving him some playing time in this game. The Dolphins didn’t look great against Kyle Trask at times on the backend of their defense, but then again, a run-in with Garbers, an undrafted rookie free agent, isn’t quite the same spectacle as going against the No. 64 overall pick of the 2022 NFL draft.
Skylar Thomson played for the entire game in the Dolphins’ opener, which means Teddy Bridgewater could be in for the majority of the snaps in this game. It’s hard not to like the chances of a former Pro Bowler over the Raiders with the game also being at home in Miami. The Dolphins will frustrate the Raiders on the ground, which will ultimately open up opportunities for them to take shots down the field.
Don’t let the injury issues fool you. Bridgewater still has range on his throws. Give me the points and the Dolphins.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Dolphins got dunked on for 24 points by rookie Kyle Trask and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense in the opener. That’ll be a tough follow-up act for rookie signal-caller Chase Garbers, who should see more reps in this game. Teams have played their lineups pretty close to the chest, but Garbers clearly is lacking in quality reps for a team that’ll likely bench starting quarterback Derek Carr for a third straight week.
The Dolphins' defense also held up well against the running game last week. So they might force Garbers into a position where he’ll have to put the ball into the air more often than he likes. Give me the under in this one.