Miami Dolphins at Detroit Lions
Ford Field – Detroit, Michigan
Sunday, November 9, 2014, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS, NFL Sunday Ticket
Opening Line: Detroit -3
Current Line: Detroit -2 1/2 (-115)
Opening Total: 42 1/2
Current Total: 43 1/2
Opening Money Line: Lions -150 / Dolphins +130
Current Money Line: Lions -145 / Dolphins +125
Both the 5-3 Miami Dolphins and 6-2 Detroit Lions are in the thick of the playoff races in their respective conferences. The two teams meet Sunday in Detroit. Miami is tied with Buffalo for second in the AFC East behind the 7-2 New England Patriots. Both the Dolphins and Bills are part of a seven team jumble of 3 loss AFC teams. Detroit leads the NFC North by a game over the Green Bay Packers.
Since 2002, Miami leads the series against Detroit 2-1. The Lions won the last meeting in Miami 34-27 in 2010.
Miami is coached by Joe Philbin. The Dolphins have a road loss at the Bills 29-10 and home losses to the Kansas City Chiefs 34-15 and Green Bay Packers 27-24. Miami has won 3 straight games since the Green Bay loss. The Dolphins have home wins over the Patriots 33-20 and last week against the San Diego Chargers 37-0. Miami has road wins against the Oakland Raiders 38-14 in London, Chicago Bears 27-14 and Jacksonville Jaguars 27-13. The Dolphins are 5-3 ATS and the total is 4-4 this season. Miami was a 3 point favorite against the Chargers and the total was 45.5.
Detroit is coached by Jim Caldwell. Detroit has losses at the Carolina Panthers 24-7 and at home to the Buffalo Bills 17-14. The Lions have home wins over the New York Giants 35-14, the Packers 19-7 and New Orleans Saints 24-23. Detroit also has road wins at the New York Jets 24-17, Minnesota Vikings 17-3 and two weeks ago against the Atlanta Falcons 22-21. Detroit has also won 3 straight games and were off last week. The Lions are 4-4 ATS and the total is 2-6 this season. Detroit was a 3.5 point favorite against the Falcons and the total was 45.
Miami is outscoring teams 26-19 this season. Miami is #9 in scoring and #3 in points allowed. Miami is averaging 366 yards per game on offense including 229 passing and 137 rushing yards per game. The Dolphins are #11 in total offense and #4 in rushing. On defense, Miami is allowing 305 yards per game including 201 passing and 104 rushing yards. The Dolphins are #3 in total offense and #2 in pass defense. Miami is 45/113 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 55/130. The Dolphins have forced 25 sacks and allowed 17 this season. Miami is +6 in turnovers. The Dolphins have 3 defensive touchdowns this season.
Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill has completed 63.3% of his passes for 1,907 yards with 14 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, plus 31 carries for 245 rushing yards. Running back Lamar Miller is questionable with a shoulder injury. He has 106 carries for 518 yards with 5 touchdowns along with 21 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown. Knowshon Moreno is out for the season with a knee injury, so look for Daniel Thomas and Damien Williams to split the carries if Miller is out. Receiver Mike Wallace has 35 catches for 468 yards and 5 touchdowns. Jarvis Landry has 30 catches for 301 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tight end Charles Clay has 27 catches for 270 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a knee injury. Brian Hartline has 25 catches for 265 yards and a touchdown. Nine defensive players are on the injury report for the Dolphins.
For years, the Detroit Lions were known for having an explosive offense and a so-so defense at best. This year the script has been flipped as the Lions are struggling to move the ball and have a dominant defense. Detroit is outscoring teams 20-16 this season. The Lions are #24 in scoring and #1 in points allowed. Detroit is averaging 339 yards per game including 259 passing and 80 rushing yards per game. The Lions are #20 in total offense, #9 in passing and #31 in rushing. On defense, Detroit leads the league in total offense allowing 290 yards per game including 216 passing and 74 rushing yards. The Lions are #5 in pass defense and #2 in rush defense. Detroit is 52/121 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 35/107. Detroit has allowed 24 sacks and forced 23 this season. The Lions are +1 in turnovers. Detroit has 2 defensive touchdowns this season.
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has completed 61.2% of his passes for 2,216 yards with 11 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with 2 rushing touchdowns. His top two playmakers, running back Reggie Bush and receiver Calvin Johnson have both battled injuries in the last few weeks. Both are probable with ankle injuries. Running back Joique Bell has 98 carries for 313 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 15 catches for 137 yards. Bush has 49 carries for 171 yards and a touchdown, plus 25 catches for 164 yards. Receiver Golden Tate has 55 catches for 800 yards and 3 touchdowns. Johnson has 22 catches for 348 yards and 2 touchdowns, despite missing the last three games. Tight ends Brandon Pettigrew, Joseph Fauria, and Eric Ebron are all questionable or doubtful against the Dolphins. Six defensive players are listed as questionable or out.
Miami is 8-0 ATS after allowing less than 250 total yards, 5-1 after allowing 150 passing yards or less, 4-1 after gaining more than 350 total yards, in November, overall and after allowing 15 points or less, 29-11 against teams with winning home records, 5-2 in road games, 3-8-1 in week 10, and 1-4 after scoring 30 points or more. The road team is 3-1-1 ATS in this series recently.
Detroit is 7-3 ATS after a bye week, 3-7 at home, 6-15-1 in November, 1-4 after a straight up win, and after passing for 250 yards, 3-12-2 in week 10, and 1-5 against teams with winning records.
Both of these teams have been successful despite injuries to key players at the skill positions. This should be a low scoring game with two of best defenses in football. I think the Lions win a close game at home.