After a dreadful start to the season, the Dolphins are now one of the hottest teams in the league, winning six consecutive games, and ready to take on the Saints down on the bayou. Let’s analyze this Monday night showdown and keep cashing our NFL picks!
Miami Dolphins vs. New Orleans Saints
Monday, December 27, 2021 – 08:15 PM EST at Caesars Superdome
The Dolphins were 1-7 after their first eight games but they have suddenly caught fire and could push past the .500 mark with a win in New Orleans on Monday night. In their last outing, they welcomed the lowly New York Jets to Hard Rock Stadium and emerged with a 31-24 victory.
It was the second consecutive knockout of a New York team in as many weeks as the Dolphins defeated the Giants, 20-9, the week before. Tua Tagovailoa tossed for 196 yards and a pair of touchdowns, as well as two interceptions, while the rushing attack was relentless in chewing up 183 yards on the ground, 107 of which were courtesy of Duke Johnson. The Miami defense sacked the beleaguered Zach Wilson on six occasions while limiting the rookie passer to 170 yards through the air.
“The O-line did a great job today upfront with creating those opportunities for Duke to find a hole and hit it and find ways to bounce the ball and have Duke be himself,” Tagovailoa said. “That’s how he was his entire career and I’m glad we were able to witness that today.”
Saints Stun Bucs
New Orleans enters this matchup with an identical 7-7 record as their opponent but with much more fanfare. The Saints are coming off of a stunning 9-0 win over the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Bucs and have officially swept the season series from their NFC South foes.
This game was a defensive battle and Saints’ quarterback, Taysom Hill, was strictly a game manager in throwing for 154 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. And a scant 61 yards rushing was all New Orleans could muster against one of the very best run-stop units in the league. However, it was good enough to get the Saints within field goal range on three occasions in which kicker Brett Maher was a perfect 3-for-3 and contributed 100 percent of the scoring in the entire game.
“You can’t say enough about what they did to pitch a shutout like that. And against a Brady-led offense, it’s incredible,” Saints quarterback Taysom Hill said. “Part of our play-calling and all that was reflective of how well they were playing.”
The Saints defense was outstanding and Cameron Jordan led the hit parade with two of New Orleans’ four sacks of Brady. “Look, if we wanted to win, we had to put it on the D-line,” Jordan said. “We installed a four-man rush front and we got after him.
We hit him early, we hit him often and we sort of rushed him a few more times than he normally has been. I mean, to get Tom Brady — he’s got one of the fastest releases in the game. So, I’m just overly impressed with my D-line.”
Wanna Make a Bet?
The Saints as three-point home favorites at NFL odds even though it appears as though both New Orleans quarterbacks will be sidelined by COVID on Monday night. This means the rookie fourth-round pick out of Notre Dame, Ian Book will be doing the honors. That’s not etched in stone but as of this Friday morning writing, it is looking more likely.
Look, the Saints’ offense is not particularly menacing and it went nowhere against the stout Bucs run-stop unit. The matchup against Miami will undoubtedly be easier and they will likely lean on their rushing attack spearheaded by Alvin Kamara against a rather porous Miami defensive front.
And now we come to the Miami offense. Tua has gotten a firm grasp of the offense and he looks so much more comfortable under center than he has since entering the league as a highly touted first-round pick. I don’t see the Dolphins gaining much headway on the ground against the Saints but I can envision them passing consistently and moving the sticks.
This will come down to Miami’s ability to pass versus New Orleans’ success running the rock. I like the Dolphins as road dogs here and wouldn’t be a bit surprised if they won this game outright.
NFL Pick: Dolphins -1.5 (-110) with BetMGM