Through two months, the Miami Dolphins seemingly had the worst start to any NFL season ever. A humiliating 0-7 first two months, they had everyone pointing to next April.
But wait … they’ve now won two in a row. And, not just covering the spread in the best sportsbooks, but outright victories? First, it was against Sam Darnold and the New York Jets, and then, last Sunday against a Luck-less, Brissett-less Indianapolis Colts. So, it appears that No. 1 overall draft pick is a thing of the past.
It’s hard to fathom that the Fins were intentionally flopping for the first six or seven games. It takes the coaching staff and management mismanaging games to a sever degree to make it work, because the players are competitive. And, now, Miami is beginning to see that competitiveness the last three weeks.
Starting with the Pittsburgh Monday night game and especially Sunday, you can see the effort with players giving their all and managing to get a couple of wins.
The victory against the Jets was a disaster for the “tank.” It was the one win the Dolphins absolutely should not have gotten if they wanted the No. 1 pick … and now we see headlines like, ‘The Dolphins are Failing at Failing.”
And that brings us to Sunday and game against a division foe. The Bills, fighting for a wild card berth. are up next at Hard Rock Stadium and, don’t laugh, Miami is looking straight at a win streak Sunday.
So, Let’s look more at the matchup:
Miami’s offense is still the No. 31 ranked in the league … but over the last four games, their horrendous 13.22 points overall per game has increased to 19.25. This is dangerously close to the Buffalo Bills average score per game of 19.33. The Bills actually only put up 18.75 on the road. And, the Fins put up 26 in their last home game, and 16 in the one before that, bringing their recent home average to 21 per game (instead of the 12 points per game on the season).
If the Dolphins want to get to three in a row, they are going to have to get their penalty yards down. They rank No. 1 in the league for penalties. Despite the two wins, the Fins ranks at the bottom of pretty much every season-long NFL stat that exists … which is why the Bills opened as touchdown favorites. However, the public seems to think the Dolphins have a bit more “Fitzmagic” in them and the line has already been bet down to +6.
The Bills continue to play strong, defensive-minded football. But on the offensive side of the ball, they just can’t seem to put together four full quarters of clean, fundamental football. Josh Allen continues his herky-jerky play and is too inconsistent to put points up on a regular basis. This means that if the Dolphins can put up some points, they have a legit shot at winning – at least covering the point spread.
The guess is the Bills defense is too good for the Fins to have another 26-point home game. And, the Bills offense is too bad for them to score more than 20 Miami. This game has UNDER written all over it in big, bold, black marker. The Total is set pretty low because of this, but you can find the number now at 41 points.
If the Bills win, it will be because they completely shut down the Dolphins offense, So, we could see a 20 to 6 type affair. Then, again, Miami has momentum, they’re at home and a streak is within sight.
Dolphins on losing end of Eli Manning farewell home game
It was just another loss for the Miami Dolphins, but it was much more than that for Eli Manning and a franchise for which, he has twice lifted the Lombardi Trophy.
In what was likely his final home game as the Giants quarterback, Manning led the Giants to three second-half touchdowns as they pulled a way to beat the Dolphins 36 – 20 with a win that snapped a miserable 9 game losing streak.
It was Manning’s first home start since earlly in the year, when he was benched in favor of rookie first-round pick Daniel Jones in week three. Jones has had a high ankle sprain, so the Giants went back to Manning for a tough loss Monday night in overtime to Philadelphia.
Back home in front of New Yorkers, who gave him a standing ovation when he came out for the first time Sunday, the game actually started well enough for the Dolphins. That’s when, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick lead them to a 10-7 halftime lead behind a 20 yard touchdown pass to DeVante Parker.
However, the two-time super bowl-winning Manning was not going to be denied against the poor Miami defense in the second half repeatedly leading the Giants down the field. RB Saquon Barkley scored both of his touchdowns from 1 and 10 yards out finishing with 112 yards rushing, as New York extended the lead late in the fourth quarter to 23 points.
Miami mustered very little offense until getting a garbage touchdown with the game decided when Fitzpatrick hit Parker again for the final margin.
When embattled coach Pat Shurmur took Manning out with two minutes to go, the remaining crowd at MetLife Stadium stood and roared with approval again.
Manning is unsigned for 2020 and it is unlikely that he will come back to the Giants even for one last season.
In a scheduling quirk, it was Miami’s second straight week losing at The Meadowlands, as the Jets beat them 22 – 21 on a last-second field goal 7 days ago.
And with the loss, the Dolphins dropped to 3 – 11 on the season. And, because of New York’s victory and the Atlanta Falcons winning dramatically in San Francisco, Miami is now in good shape to probably pick either number two or number three in the draft come April.
Dolphins gave WR Parker extension- huge raise Friday
The Dolphins have had a mostly awful 2019 season, however, one of the bright spots this year and for their future, has gotten a new deal and a hefty raise.
Former first-round pick WR, DeVante Parker, will be a Dolphin for some time to come after agreeing to a four-year contract extension that could pay him up to $40 million. The deal was first reported by Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, and the Dolphins confirmed Parker agreeing with this video released on social media:
.@DeVanteParker11 is here to stay‼️
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) December 13, 2019
Parker, who was playing on the fifth year option of his original rookie contract will reportedly get $8 million now to sign the deal and will also receive a fully guaranteed salary in 2020.
Parker has been one of the few bright spots for Miami this season totaling 55 receptions for 882 yards and six touchdowns. The yardage and the TD totals are both career highs for the former first-round pick out of Louisville in 2015. He had a breakout performance two weeks ago in Miami’s 37-31 upset of the Eagles. Parker caught a season high 7 passes for 159 yards and two TDs in the win.
Miami and GM Chris Grier had picked up option on Parker’s original four deal which was paying him $5 million for this season. Grier also has the Fins well positioned under the salary cap this year and next year, as Miami rid themselves of high price contracts for players like QB Ryan Tannehill, DE Robert Quinn and WR Kenny Stills.
The Dolphins do not have much else in terms of receiving talent after having traded away #1 receivers, Jarvis Landry and Stills the last two seasons. And then, Miami saw free agent Albert Wilson suffer a hip injury which cut his 2018 season short, and now, Wilson has been injured much of 2019, as well. Miami had high hopes for big-physical rookie free agent WR Preston Williams, but he tore his ACL in a game in October and is now on IR.
Parker is currently in concussion protocol after last week’s 22 – 21 loss against the Jets. He is officially listed as questionable for this weekend’s game with the Giants.
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