Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#487 Miami Dolphins vs.
#488 Las Vegas Raiders
Sunday, September 26, 2021 at 4:05pm EDT
Oakland Coliseum, Oakland
Written by Jordy

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The Miami Dolphins head back out onto the road on Sunday for an AFC tilt with the 2-0 Las Vegas Raiders. A trip to the Death Star in Vegas won’t come with any pleasantries if the Dolphins lose a second straight game. They were blown off the field in their home opener against an angry Buffalo Bills team last week. Meanwhile, the Raiders have toppled back-to-back playoff contenders in wins over the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.

Next man up in Miami

Jacoby Brissett has been in this situation before.

He knows what it’s like to get the call to go from backup to starting quarterback. It happened in both of his previous stops with the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts. And it’s happening once again in Miami with starter Tua Tagovailoa currently sidelined with fractured ribs.

Things got downright ugly last week with the Dolphins falling to the Buffalo Bills in a 35-0 loss in their home building. However, Brissett was thrown into the lineup on the fly against a good football team. We’ll see how he performs with an entire week of the team creating a game plan specifically around him as the starting quarterback.

It’s hard to judge the Raiders’ run defense with the numbers being skewed a bit thanks to that Week 1 game against the Baltimore Ravens, who run on everybody. They managed to tighten things up the following week against a Pittsburgh Steelers team that was held to only 39 yards on the ground.

Brissett is no Lamar Jackson, but he’s clearly capable of excelling at some of the same run option style plays. So it’ll be interesting if coach Brian Flores goes back to the film of that Ravens game and implements some of the same plays that worked against the Las Vegas defense.

Dolphins big-ticket free agent receiver Will Fuller practiced this week. So we’ll finally get a chance to see the dynamic trio of Fuller, Jaylen Waddle and Devante Parker on the field together.

But this game will be all about Miami’s defense against Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Can they slow what looks to be a breakout season? All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard and the Dolphins secondary have done a tremendous job of slowing down passing offenses. The run game, on the other hand, has been a problem for the men up front. It’s a good thing for them the Raiders can’t move the sticks on the ground.

Raiders look for real

Derek Carr and the Raiders offense didn’t even have a running game last week with Josh Jacobs out of action, and it still didn’t stop him from throwing for 382 yards and two touchdowns on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

What’s not to like about back-to-back wins over the Steelers and Baltimore Ravens?

Carr will face another tough test against the Dolphins on Sunday. It’s always a challenge with Xavien Howard lurking in the defensive backfield. The Dolphins have the sort of secondary that will make Carr pay for any bad decisions.

Running back Josh Jacobs still being on the injury report is a problem for the Raiders as well. They currently have the third-worst rushing attack with the team averaging only 67 yards on the ground per game. It’s a problem for a Raiders team that needs to create some form of a balanced attack if they hope to contend for a championship.

Perhaps this will be the game where Peyton Barber and Kenyan Drake finally get up and running.

The Raiders defense has been an unsung hero at the start of the season, but they have to be sure not to underestimate Jacoby Brissett. He’s a wily veteran with a ton of experience. There’s also the fact that he’s always a threat to take off and run with the ball in his hands. The Raiders struggled with that dual aspect at quarterback significantly in their run-in with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. We’ll see if they’ve managed to clean some things up ahead of their meeting with the Dolphins.

Best Bets for this Game

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I don’t see anything good coming out of a situation with the Dolphins heading to Allegiant Stadium with Tua Tagovailoa out of the lineup. Make no mistake, Jacoby Brissett is a good backup quarterback, but his offenses lack the explosive plays necessary to go on the road and outduel Derek Carr, who is receiving early MVP mentions.

There’s just too much dependent on the Dolphins' defense for this game. Sure, Xavien Howard and the secondary has done well against the pass, but they’re also allowing an average 134 rushing yards per game, which is the fifth-worst in the league. The Raiders couldn’t move the ball on the ground mostly because they ran into a pair of top-10 run defenses in the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens right out of the gates.

Even against a Ravens defense with Pro Bowl corner Marlon Humphrey in the background, Carr aired the ball out for 435 passing yards, two touchdowns and only one interception. Something special is happening right now in Oakland, and I wouldn’t want to be the team standing in their way on Sunday. Miami is in trouble in this one.

I’m laying the points.

Prediction: Las Vegas Raiders (-4)

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After getting shut out by the Buffalo Bills in Week 2, the Dolphins will come into this game with a little more fight in their system. Jacoby Brissett will be facing another tough defensive team, but he’ll at least have the confidence of knowing he’s had an entire week to prepare for this moment. So I’m expecting the offense to run more efficiently this time around.

However, an argument could be made that no offense is running as efficiently as Oakland’s passing attack right now. Derek Carr could be ascending to the ranks of the elite before our very eyes. The Raiders dropped 33 points on the Baltimore Ravens the last time they were in their home building. Give me the over in this one.

Prediction: Over (44)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast, and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY, and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys, and all the Sun Drop you can drink.