The New York Giants and Miami Dolphins both sit at 5-7 before their Week 14 matchup on “Monday Night Football," but the contest has major playoff implications. While the Dolphins have virtually no chance to reach the playoffs, New York is still very much alive in the NFC East race.
New York needs a win to keep pace with the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles in the division. A win for Eli Manning and Co. would put them in a three-way tie atop the NFC East.
Even though they are on the road and have lost three straight games, the betting public favors the Giants. The game was a pick’em at the beginning of the week, but New York is a one-point favorite just hours before kickoff. The betting line had been as high as two points on Monday morning. The over/under is 47 points.
Last Two Minutes
If NFL games lasted 58 minutes instead of 60, the Giants would be considered a Super Bowl favorite. Five times this season the Giants had a lead in the final two minutes, only to eventually blow it and suffer a loss. New York has done a poor job of managing the clock, allowing teams more time than they ever should for a potential comeback, and it will be interesting to see how the Giants play if they have a late lead on Monday night.
Being too aggressive in games against the Cowboys, Patriots and Jets ultimately cost the Giants. But it isn’t just about clock management, since the team’s poor pass defense allowed the Saints and Falcons to march down the field and score late touchdowns. New York also has one of the NFL’s worst rushing attacks, making it very difficult for them to move the ball when the opposing team knows they want to milk the clock. The Dolphins has the NFL’s second-worst run defense.
The Dolphins' offense is in a rut. Miami ranks 24th in points per game, but they’ve been playing worse than their ranking might indicate. The Dolphins haven’t scored more than 20 points in their last six games, and it will be difficult for them to beat the Giants if they can't change that on Monday night.
Miami had a few offensive explosions earlier this season. After coach Joe Philbin's firing, the team scored 38 points and 44 points in consecutive games. Ryan Tannehill is on pace to throw for over 30 touchdowns, and the Giants’ pass defense has been atrocious at times, allowing more yards per game than any other team. But New York’s defense has been improved since Jason Pierre-Paul returned from injury, and the Dolphins will be in trouble if the Giants have a consistent pass rush.
The 2015 “Monday Night Football” schedule has featured some of the year’s best games, and no contest on Monday night has been decided by more than one score since the Giants were blown out by the Eagles on Oct. 19. The Week 14 matchup should be another close one with New York faltering down the stretch, once again.
Miami over New York, 20-17