New York Giants at Miami Dolphins (pk, 47 o/u)
After a week of everybody bagging on the NFC East, Washington and Philadelphia responded with a pair of huge wins over the weekend. Tonight, the New York Giants (5-7, 2-4 Away) will have the perfect opportunity to keep pace with the top of the division when they visit the struggling Miami Dolphins (5-7, 2-3 Home) on Monday Night Football (8:30 PM Eastern).
The Giants need this one in the worst way. After blowing another fourth-quarter lead last weekend, the doubts surrounding this team are reaching a critical level. If they had been able to close just a few of the five games they’ve lead in the final frame, the division would be all but sewn up. Now Tom Coughlin’s squad faces the toughest closing schedule of anyone in the NFC East, and might need to run the table to save the job of the NFL’s oldest coach.
New York’s next games come against the Panthers and Vikings before closing against the Eagles. If they want that final game to be for a playoff spot, they can’t afford to drop this spot against a softball opponent.
Despite the identical records, Miami’s chances at the postseason are pretty much shot at this point. They enter tonight 2.5-games out of a Wild Card spot, and the teams in front of them have all played much better football to this point. The Dolphins only have two wins in their last six games, and those came against the Ravens and Eagles, two mediocre teams that were playing with backup quarterbacks at the time.
Miami’s offense experienced a brief spike back when interim coach Dan Campbell was put in charge, but has now reverted back to its useless ways. The Dolphins have only scored over 21 points twice all season, and routinely seem to forget that their best chance at winning comes with the run game. When running back Lamar Miller has 13 or more carries, the team is 5-0.
When the game is put on fourth-year QB Ryan Tannehill, the offense grinds to a halt. Tannehill has just a 54-percent completion rate on third downs and a 30-percent completion rate on fourth downs.
The Giants have shown their offense has the horses to run Miami out of the building, ranking seventh in the league in scoring. And the likelihood of that only increases with the news that offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse and Ereck Flowers should be back in the lineup tonight. Improved protection can only help against the overpriced, but still effective, DT Ndamukong Suh.
The return of Newhouse and Flowers could also help pave the way for a Giants run game that has been just brutal this season, averaging 88 yards a game.
New York is 3-2-1 against the spread on the road this year, while Miami is 1-4 at home. The Giants enter this game having lost their last two ATS, but this up-and-down team hasn’t lost three in a row since November 2014. Roll with the G-men to stay in the playoff hunt with a win tonight.
Pick: New York (pk).
(Photo Credit: Mike Morbeck [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)
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