Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#261 Jacksonville Jaguars vs.
#262 Miami Dolphins
Thursday, August 22, 2019 at 8:00pm EDT
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami
Written by Chris Altruda

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#261 Jacksonville
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Jacksonville Jaguars at Miami Dolphins

When and Where: Thursday, Aug. 22, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Fla., 8 p.m. EDT.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is expected to get a second turn with the first offensive unit Thursday night as the battle for starting quarterback of the Miami Dolphins continues with their third preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Foles set for long-awaited Jags debut

After watching the first two games from the sidelines and rookie sixth-round pick Gardner Minshew try to stake a claim to the No. 2 job with a credible performance in last Thursday’s 24-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Nick Foles will finally take live snaps against an opposing defense for the first time this preseason.

“If you have a chance to play, to go out there and get a few plays, it’s always great to get that game feel, that game preparation,” Foles said after practice Sunday. “Based on what coach decides, it would be good for us.”

Jaguars coach Doug Marrone has been extremely conservative about exposing his starters to potential injuries in the preseason over the first two games and held out 27 players from the Philadelphia game. In the case of Foles, it made sense considering three of Jacksonville’s expected starting linemen — Cam Robinson, Andrew Norvell, and Jawaan Taylor — all practiced together for the first time last week.

“They’re really the most important piece of the offense,” Foles said of his linemen. “The way they work together, the way they communicate, is a work of art. To have them all out there is huge for us. It’s happening at the right time.”

The Jaguars also got good news on the personnel front over the weekend as top wideout Marquise Lee was activated off the PUP list. He missed all of last season after tearing all three right knee ligaments in the third preseason game and had his first practice Saturday.

“It’s all mental at this point,” said Lee, who had 56 catches for 702 yards in 2017 while helping Jacksonville reach the AFC title game. “I feel like the physical aspect of it … I did all the rehab and all the things I need to do. Now, I just have to make sure I stay calm and take it slow. There’s no worries. I’m going to be fine as long as I manage and make sure I take care of myself.”

On the defensive side, linebacker Myles Jack earned praise from Marrone for his versatility across all three positions, with the second-year coach noting “I can put him at Sam (strong-side linebacker) tomorrow, and he’d be a great Sam linebacker. I can put him at Will (weak-side linebacker), and he’ll be a great Will linebacker. I can keep at Mike (middle linebacker) and he’s a great Mike linebacker.

“There are a lot of things he can do, and we’re fortunate to have him. He’s done a really good job for us.”

So in Game 3, Foles, running back Leonard Fournette, defensive end Calais Campbell, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, cornerback A.J. Bouye, defensive tackle Abry Jones, wide receiver Dede Westbrook and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue might finally their first action of the preseason.

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Fitzpatrick-Rosen battle may go all the way to Week 1 kickoff

Now in his 15th year and eighth team, little fazes the 36-year-old Fitzpatrick as he seemingly goes from team-to-team and finds a way to win playing time. Miami is one of the more intriguing battles at the quarterback position across the league considering his opponent Josh Rosen was the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft before being dealt to the Dolphins by Arizona — which allowed the Cardinals to select quarterback Kyler Murray first following a coaching change.

“Being a starting quarterback in this league, I think it’s something that you can never take for granted,” Fitzpatrick said. “You have a lot of people in the building, you have a lot of people in that locker room, a lot of fans that are relying on you to go out there and do your job. For me, it’s the reason that I still play. It’s a position that I love. It’s a position that I love being in. I’m excited to have the opportunity to compete to do it.”

Fitzpatrick did not have one of his better games as he completed 3 of 9 passes for 20 yards in Miami’s 16-14 loss to Tampa Bay, his most recent former team. Rosen earned some plaudits after going 10 for 18 for 102 yards, but neither quarterback got the Dolphins in the end zone — only third-stringer Jake Rudock did that with a TD toss to Patrick Laird in the final minute, and his two-point conversion pass to Trenton Irwin gave Miami a short-lived 14-13 lead.

“We felt like we wanted to get him in early against Tampa’s first group and also get him some snaps with the center and some of those receivers in that group,” Flores said about starting Rosen.

“I thought he played well, made some good decisions out there. I would like to not see him take as many sacks; but I thought he threw the ball well, had some drops – that didn’t help him. But I thought overall, he played well.”

The offensive line is also a concern with rookie guards Michael Deiter and Shaq Calhoun are the likely starters and right tackle Jesse Davis was originally a guard. The veterans are center Daniel Kilgore and left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who will need to lead the line.

On defense, linebacker Sam Eguavoen had his second straight solid performance as he vies for a starting spot against 2017 second-round pick Raekwon McMillan. Eguavoen, who spent the last three seasons with Saskatchewan in the CFL after going undrafted out of Texas Tech in 2015, had seven tackles and a force fumble.

“I had my first NFL game ever last week, so coming into this week I just write on my walls – just play fearless. It’s football,” Eguavoen told DolphinsWire. “There are 11 people out there, so I have 10 other defenders who have my back, so I’m taking my shots.”

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After erring on the side of caution and preservation by holding all his starters out for the first two preseason games, the belief is that the Jaguars will have hard time getting up to speed for this game — the concern is about doing the things they do more than winning and losing this game for Marrone.

The offensive line still needs time to gel and everyone needs game reps, something Fitzpatrick and Rosen have already accrued, and should prove instrumental in Miami winning this in-state clash.

Prediction: Dolphins -3

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The under is the lean because Jacksonville’s offense is a big unknown. No one knows how many snaps Foles and running back Leonard Fournette will get. No one knows how many snaps the first-string offensive line will get. The Dolphins should be able to extend their first string into the first half, especially if they let Fitzpatrick and Rosen each play a full quarter.

That lack of rhythm offensively for Jacksonville could lead to a low point total that would allow the under to deliver.

Prediction: UNDER 37 points
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Written By Chris Altruda

A 1994 graduate of Marquette University when they were known as the Warriors and Brooklyn native, Chris Altruda is a freelance sportswriter based in Chicago. He has worked at three major U.S. wire services and also has prior experience in sports handicapping and daily fantasy roster building. Now that the Cubs have won a World Series, he holds out hope the Jets will win a Super Bowl before he dies. Can be followed on Twitter at @AlTruda73.