What was setting up to be a play-in game for the AFC playoffs turned into a rather boring matchup after the Dolphins put up a dud against the Titans last week to ruin their postseason chances.
Sunday does matter for the Patriots though, as they could still win the AFC East if they win and Buffalo loses. Seeding is on the line as well.
The game will be kickoff at 4:25pm from Miami Gardens’ Hard Rock Stadium. Spero Dedes and Jay Feely will be on the call for CBS.
Here are the odds for Sunday’s divisional matchup, courtesy of BetOnline.ag:
Odds – Week 18
Spread: Patriots -6.5
Moneyline: Patriots -275/Dolphins +230
New England finishes their season with the same team they started it with as they head to Miami for week 18. After starting their season 1-7, the Dolphins rattled off seven straight wins to get themselves to 8-7. They then got smoked 34-3 last weekend in Tennessee.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa once again had himself an up-and-down season. He’s thrown for 2,544 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions this season – and despite taking the Dolphins on a seven game win streak and getting them a week away from the postseason, he still doesn’t feel like Miami’s guy. Rumors will once again circulate this offseason about the Dolphins improving at quarterback, and I think they should take the chance if they get it.
Have I mentioned that I like Jaylen Waddle? The 2021 sixth overall pick has been a outstanding addition for Miami this season, and will be an incredible weapon for anyone who plays QB there next year.
The Patriots struggle mightily in Miami. They are just 2-6 in their last eight games down there, and will need to turn those fortunes around on Sunday if they want a chance at winning the AFC East. They need other things to happen, but it starts with getting the win.
Patriots safety Kyle Dugger missed a second straight practice on Thursday with what is listed as a hand injury. Nelson Agholor, David Andrews, Christian Barmore, Cody Davis, Nick Folk, Damien Harris, Dont’a Hightower, Jakobi Meyers, Adrian Phillips, and Isaiah Wynn were all limited.
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) January 6, 2022
As for Miami, no one was a DNP on Thursday. They are relatively healthy heading into the final week of the season. Guard Jesse Davis, WR Isaiah Ford, DT John Jenkins, RB Phillip Lindsay, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, and WR Preston Williams were all on the report, but they all practiced.
If Miami had won again last week, I would feel a lot differently about this game. However, now that they are eliminated from playoff contention, they’re not going to be nearly as motivated to win this game.
New England still has plenty to play for, and you know Belichick will have a pulse on what’s going on around the rest of the league. The Patriots will do just enough to win, but Miami sneaks in a cover at home.
Prediction: Patriots 24 – Dolphins 20
Side: Dolphins +6.5
Total: OVER 40
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