Week 17 NFL AFC East Divisional Showdown: New England At Miami
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will look to dispatch Jay Ajayi and the Miami Dolphins in their regular season finale to secure home-field advantage throughout the AFC portion of the playoffs. However, the Patriots would also like to keep Tom Brady upright and unscathed as the postseason approaches and both AFC East rivals have already punched their respective tickets to the postseason.
Now, let’s find out if New England can cover the spread as decisive 10-point road favorites when these two playoff participants square off on Sunday, January 1 from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens while airing live on CBS.
Week 17 NFL AFC East Divisional Showdown: New England Patriots (13-2) At Miami Dolphins (10-5)
NFL Football: Sunday, January 1, 2017 at 1:00 pm (Hard Rock Stadium)
Live Stream: CBS Sports Network
NFL Odds: Miami Dolphins +10 / Over/Under: 44.5
New England Patriots
The Patriots have won six straight games and come into their finale off a convincing 41-2 rout over the struggling Jets last weekend while covering the spread as whopping 17-point favorites as Tom Brady passed for a ho-hum 214 yards and three touchdowns.
The Pats are averaging a stellar 27.0 points per game to rank third in scoring as Brady has passed for 3,278 yards with 25 touchdowns and just two interceptions and veteran running back LeGarrette Blount has rushed for a team-high 1,110 yards and 17 touchdowns. Veteran wide receiver Julian Edelman leads the team in receptions with 90 catches for 955 yards and two scores. Defensively, the New England Patriots have been rock-solid in limiting the opposition to just 15.7 points per game to rank first in points allowed.
The Dolphins have won three straight and four of their last five and come into their finale off a thrilling 34-31 win over Buffalo last weekend as 4.5-point underdogs as running back Jay Ajayi rushed 32 times for 206 yards and one score. The Dolphins are averaging 23.2 points per game as quarterback Ryan Tannehill has passed for 2,995 yards with 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. However, with Tannehill out for the foreseeable future, the Fins have turned to backup Matt Moore and he’s delivered by throwing for 469 yards with six touchdowns and two picks in two starts.
Ajayi has rushed for a surprising 1,213 yards and eight touchdowns while wide receiver Jarvis Landry has hauled in 85 passes for 1,060 yards and three touchdowns. Analysis: 68 percent of the betting public likes Miami to cover the spread as insane 10-point home underdogs and I agree, seeing as how New England likely won’t play Brady the entire contest in an effort to keep him from getting injured before the start of the playoffs.
I know the Patriots are 4-0 ATS in their last four games following an SU win and 7-1 ATS in their last eight games against their AFC conference counterparts, but Miami is 4-0 ATS in their last four against their AFC East division rivals and 6-1 ATS in their last seven games against teams from the AFC.
I’m going to urge you to back Miami in this divisional battle as the Fins surely want to show some fortitude against their hated division rivals and get backup Matt Moore some more playing time before their playoff opener next weekend. Take the Fins plus the points people!