Can the Dolphins Keep Their Playoff Hopes Alive?
If they didn’t share a division with the New England Patriots, NFL sportsbooks would have the Miami Dolphins listed as a shoo in for the playoffs. But since the Patriots have locked up the AFC East, the Dolphins will just have to settle for a Wild Card slot. Unfortunately, given how competitive the AFC has been this year, clinching a Wild Card berth is easier said than done. If the season ended right now the Dolphins would end up with the 7th seed, just barely missing out on the playoffs. However, there are still 4 games in the season and with the right amount of luck, Miami could find themselves competing in the postseason.
The most important thing that Miami can do to secure their playoff berth is to win the remainder of the games left on their schedule. In Week 14 the Dolphins will have to square off against the Arizona Cardinals. This game will be played in Miami, which is good for the Dolphins since they have a 5-1 record at home. So far this season, when the Dolphins play at home they’ve been a pretty good pick when betting on NFL games but it’ll be interesting to see what kind of odds NFL sportsbooks put together for this Week 14 matchup.
NFL Odds – Week 14 – Sunday, December 11th
Miami Dolphins -1 (-110) 43½ (-110) -115
Arizona Cardinals +1 (-110) 43½ (-110) -105
Surprisingly enough, the best NFL sportsbooks aren’t pegging either team as the underdog, which comes off as a little bit of a shocker since the Dolphins are 7-5 and the Cardinals are 5-6-1. At the start of the season the Cardinals seemed like one of the few teams that would indeed qualify for the postseason, but the Cardinals are currently the 10th seed in the NFC so there’s a plethora of teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race. So, even though the Cardinals don’t have legitimate playoff aspirations, they can still spell trouble for Miami.
Despite the distinguishable difference in their record, the Arizona Cardinals actually look much better on paper. The Cards will come into this game with the NFL’s 9th best passing offense and a top rated defense. Arizona has the league’s 3rd best passing offense, 12th best rushing defense, and the 2nd best total defense. On the other hand, the Dolphins don’t look that threatening, at least on paper. Miami has the 8th best rushing offense, but that is somewhat diminished because their passing offense is the 28th worst. Defensively Miami is 30th against the run and 11th against the pass.
In conclusion, if the Cardinals want to spoil the Dolphins season all they need to do is neutralize their running game. But if Miami can develop the run, maintain ball possession, and get an early lead, the Dolphins can keep their playoff hopes alive. Ultimately NFL sportsbooks are predicting an extremely close contest and this game should turn out to be just that.