Nobody expected very much from the Miami Dolphins or New York Jets offenses to start the season, but both have shown a glimmer of hope in recent weeks. Which team is poised to come out on top this Sunday? Let's take a closer look at why I favor the Dolphins.
One of the most curious point spreads on the board in Week 8 is the Jets two and half point favorites over the Dolphins. The spread was the same in the look-ahead line, so their performance vs the Patriots didn't change perception for anybody. The question is whether or not the Jets should be favored in this game at all?
I waited all week to see if an affordable +3 would become available, but it appears like I'll have to wait closer to kick off for that to happen. I'd be willing to play the Dolphins +2.5, but wait as long as possible for some potential late line movement (odds from SBRforum).
Off and Into the Bye
The New England Patriots and St Louis Rams take their talents across the pond this Sunday to showcase the annual NFL International Series. The Patriots are favored by a touchdown in Las Vegas, and they'll be a popular favorite among the London fans as well. Let's take a closer look to see why I like them to cover this spread and come out on top.
The look-ahead line had the Patriots favored by 8.5 points, but after Week 7 they re-opened as -6.5 favorites. It didn't take very long for early money to recognize the value, as it quickly got bet to -7 (odds from SBRforum). The public is also getting in on the action with 77% of bets coming in on the favorite.
Home vs Road?
The Rams are technically listed as the home team here, but in reality this is more of a road game for them. The New England Patriots are much more of a world-wide brand than the St Louis Rams. The funny thing is, Gisele Bunchen might have as much to do with that as the Patriots' history in the Super Bowl. Tom Brady is a house-hold name, even across seas.
Analysis: Here come the Jets. Rex Ryan didn't have to tell anyone in New England they were coming to Foxboro this Sunday as the Jets head up I95 and the Mass Pike to face their heated rivals. Ryan's Jets are 3-4 against the Pats, including a AFC Divisional Round win that shocked the NFL. These aren't those Jets, and in fact, these aren't those Patriots. Both teams, along with the rest of the AFC East and seven others in the AFC, come in at 3-3. There will be no love lost between both sides come Sunday, and there wasn't any leading up to the game. Ryan said this week he dreams of the day his Jets will overtake the Patriots in the AFC East and he didn't come to Gang Green to lose to the Patriots. He went so far as to say that New England knows that he expects the Jets to win.
New England Patriots Commentary: Tom Brady's Pats' Go As Far As Stevan Ridley And Their Running Game Goes
The 2012 Patriots will only go as far as their running game allows. A revitalized ground attack has keyed each of the Patriots three wins so far this season.
When opposing teams have stopped young duo Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden, the Patriots have been reduced to the one-dimensional team that has lost two Super Bowls in five years.
Bill Belichick's team came undone in both of those title games, because the New York Giants were free to simply zero in on quarterback Tom Brady. In the biggest games, teams realised that beating Brady meant beating the Patriots.
The addition of a credible running game in 2012 has not only added healthy balance to the offense, it has given defenses no chance to key on the one player who makes the Patriots tick.
A simple analysis of the Patriots three victories this season, reveals just how important the ground game has become in New England.
Against the Tennessee Titans in Week 1, the Patriots ran the ball 35 times. That meant Brady only put the ball in the air 31 times.
The Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills are both coming off emotional wins, but after digging deeper it's clear that one holds more value than the other. Let's take a closer look at why the Bills will come out on top in this Week 7 match-up.
Back in the offseason, and again in the look-ahead line, Vegas pegged the Bills as 3.5 point favorites in this matchup. I'm not entirely sure what people saw in Week 6 to think this game should be moved to three, but that's what it re-opened at on Sunday night. Some early action has come in on Buffalo and right now you have to pay a bit extra juice to lay the field goal. At the same time, that three won't be available if more money continues to pour on the home team.
Optimism in Tennessee?
If I'm making an argument for the Titans, I point to the inspired upset over the Steelers, the extra time to prepare, and the general underachieving of the Bills.