NFL Betting Preview Week 11: San Diego Chargers at Miami Dolphins

San Diego Chargers at Miami Dolphins
Sun Life Stadium – Miami Gardens, Florida

Sunday, November 17, 2013, 4:05 pm Eastern, TV: CBS, NFL Sunday Ticket
Opening Line: San Diego -1
Current Line: San Diego -1 (-120)
Opening Total: 45 1/2
Current Total: 45
Opening Money Line: Chargers -125 / Dolphins +105
Current Money Line: Chargers -125 / Dolphins +105

San Diego is a slight road favorite at Miami in a key AFC game.

The AFC playoff picture is a jumbled mess right now with 5 teams within a game of the last playoff spot. The New York Jets currently hold that spot with a 5-4 record, but the Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers are all 4-5. Two of those teams meet Sunday as the Dolphins host the Chargers in a key game.

Both San Diego and Miami are in third place in their respective divisions. The Dolphins and Chargers have met six times since 2001. The Dolphins lead the series 4-2 during that time but the Chargers won the last game 26-16 in San Diego in 2011.

San Diego is coached by Mike McCoy in his first season. The Chargers are 4-5 but could easily be 7-2 at least. They lost to the Houston Texans 31-28 at home despite leading 28-7 in the third quarter. The Chargers then won at the Philadelphia Eagles 33-30 before losing at the Tennessee Titans 20-17. San Diego hosted the Dallas Cowboys and came back from a 21-10 deficit to win 30-21. The Chargers lost at the Oakland Raiders 27-17, and then beat the Indianapolis Colts 19-9. The Chargers beat up on the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars 24-6. San Diego has lost two straight games at the Washington Redskins 30-24 in overtime and last week at home to the Denver Broncos 28-20.   The Chargers are 5-3-1 ATS this season and the total is 4-5. San Diego was a 7 point underdog against Denver and the total was 56.

Denver took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter at San Diego last week. The Chargers would open the second with 2 field goals, but the Broncos would score 14 points on two Peyton Manning touchdown passes to make it 21-6 at halftime. manning would throw his fourth TD pass of the game to expand the elad to 28-6 early in the third. San Diego pulled to within 28-13 by the end of the third. San Diego scored early in the fourth to make it 28-20, but neither team would score again. San Diego would have only one more possession after than and it ended with a punt with 3:29 left. Denver would run out the clock. The Broncos had 397 total yards including 313 passing yards, The Chargers had 329 total yards including 198 passing yards. Denver had the only turnover of the game.

San Diego is outscoring teams 24-22 this season. The Chargers are #16 in scoring and #12 in points allowed in the NFL. On offense, San Diego is averaging 395.4 yards per game including 288.7 passing and 106.8 rushing yards per game. The Chargers are #7 in total offense and #4 in passing. On defense, San Diego is allowing 394.1 total yards per game, including 279.6 passing and 114.6 rushing yards. The Chargers are 20th or worse in all three categories. The Chargers are -6 in turnovers this season. San Diego is 56/116 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 47/112. The Chargers have forced 22 sacks and allowed 16 this season. San Diego is averaging 33 minutes for time of possession. The Chargers are averaging 48 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 61. San Diego has allowed 3 defensive touchdowns this season and has one of their own.

San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers is having his best season in years. He has completed 71.6% of his passes for 2,691 yards with 18 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with 46 rushing yards. He has been sacked 16 times. Running back Ryan Mathews has 131 carries for 539 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 8 catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Danny Woodhead has 59 carries for 220 yards and a touchdown, along with 53 catches for 408 yards and 4 touchdowns. Ronnie Brown has 35 carries for 119 yards and a touchdown, along with 6 catches for 48 yards.

Tight end Antonio Gates has 52 catches, 612 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Receiver Keenan Allen has 38 catches, 568 yards and 3 touchdowns. Eddie Royal has 28 catches, 377 yards and 7 touchdowns. He is questionable with a toe injury. Vincent Brown has 30 catches, 317 yards and a touchdown. Receivers Malcolm Floyd and Danario Alexander are both on IR. Nine defensive players and three offensive linemen are listed on the  injury report.

Miami is coached by Joe Philbin. The Dolphins opened the season 3-0 before losing 4 straight games. They snapped the losing streak on Halloween night at home against the Cincinnati Bengals with a 22-20 overtime victory. Miami also has a home win over the Atlanta Falcons 27-23, along with road wins over the Cleveland Browns 23-10 and the Indianapolis Colts 24-20. The Dolphins have road losses at the New Orleans Saints 38-17 and New England Patriots 27-17 and last week at the previously winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers 22-19 on Monday night, along with home losses to the Baltimore Ravens 26-23 and Buffalo Bills 23-21. Miami is 4-5 ATS and the total is 6-2-1 this season. The Dolphins were 2.5 point favorites against the Buccaneers and the total was 39.5.

Miami was playing at Tampa Bay without the left side of their starting offensive line because of the well-publicized Richie Incognito bullying scandal. I don’t know if they were distracted by all of the media coverage or not having Incognito and Jonathan Martin were the reason the Dolphins looked sluggish Monday night. It was probably a combination of both. However, Tampa Bay jumped out a 15-0 lead in the first half. The Dolphins finally got on the board just before halftime to make it 15-7. Miami would score 12 points in the third quarter to take a 19-15 lead going into the fourth. The Buccaneers regained the lead with 10:19 left in the fourth quarter 22-19. The Dolphins would have two more possessions but they ended with a punt and an interception. Tampa Bay ran out the clock to secure their first win of the season. Miami had 213 total yards including 211 passing yards.  Tampa Bay had 264 total yards including 140 rushing yards. Each team had one turnover and each had 70 penalty yards.

Miami is being outscored 23-21 this season. The Dolphins are averaging 303.9 yards per game including 216.9 passing and 87 rushing yards. Miami is 20th or worse in all offensive categories in #30 in total offense. On defense, the Dolphins are allowing 357.1 yards per game including 238 passing and 119.1 rushing. Miami is #16 or worse in all three categories. The Dolphins are even in turnovers. Miami is 47/129 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 53/137. The Dolphins have forced 27 sacks but allowed 37 this season. Miami has 2 defensive touchdowns and has allowed one this season. The Dolphins average 41 penalty yards per game and opponents average 51.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has completed 61% of his passes for 2,206 yards with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and he also has 23 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown. He has taken every snap this season despite being sacked 37 times this season. That isn’t even counting all the hits and knockdowns he has taken. The offensive line struggled even before Martin left the team and Incognito was suspended indefinitely.

Running back Lamar Miller has 100 carries for 450 yards with and 2 touchdowns along with 15 catches for 81 yards. Daniel Thomas has 64 carries for 214 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 9 catches for 50 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Brian Hartline has 43 catches for 534 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Mike Wallace has 40 catches for 495 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with a hamstring injury.  Tight end Charles Clay has 36 catches for 384 yards and 3 touchdowns. Brandon Gibson had 30 catches for 326 yards and 3 touchdowns but is out for the season with a knee injury. Rishard Matthews has 21 catches, 237 yards and 2 touchdowns. The beleaguered offensive line took another hit when  tackle Will Yeatman was lost for the year with a torn ACL. Center Mike Pouncey is also out for this game with an illness.

San Diego is 6-1 ATS after a straight up loss, 4-1 after failing to cover, and in week 11, 5-2-1 in road games, 3-7 against teams with losing records, 2-6 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, 2-7-1 after allowing 250 passing yards or more, and 2-8 in November. The last nine games in this series have gone under the total.  The favorite is 5-2 ATS in this series recently.

Miami is 6-2 ATS at home, after gaining less than 250 yards, and after allowing less than 150 passing yards, 11-32-1 against teams with losing road records, 1-4 in November, 1-5 overall, and 1-6 when playing on Sunday after a Monday night game. The Dolphins are 5-2 ATS against the Chargers in the last seven games in the series.

If you can figure out either one of these teams will do from week to week, then you are a better handicapper than I am. I suppose that is why they are 4-5. There are several factors against each team. The Chargers are travelling to the east Coast, but at least the game is in the afternoon instead of early. San Diego is also banged up on defense, and gives up a ton of yards and points, For Miami, the offensive line is in shambles, and they played on Monday night. San Diego should win this game, but I don’t trust either one of these teams.

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