Has this been the best year of "Monday Night Football" or what!? Oh, some of the matchups have been lousy on the surface. But the endings have been sensational. For example, I had little interest other than from a betting/fantasy/Survivor perspective for last Monday's game between Dallas and Washington, both with losing records. But it was another wild last-second ending thanks to the stupidity of Redskins punt returner/knucklehead DeSean Jackson. It was the seventh straight MNF game to go down to a final possession. So this week's game between the Giants and Dolphins has plenty to live up to.
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Miami (5-7) really has little to play for other than improving its draft status, although the Dolphins aren't eliminated from playoff contention yet. The Fins are also 11th in the AFC, so even winning out probably isn't enough to get a wild-card spot. Better to finish last in the AFC East and get that last-place schedule in 2016 with the better draft pick. Might be slightly more enticing to whichever new head coach the team hires this offseason; current interim coach Dan Campbell is a former Giants tight end. The Fins can certainly help shape the playoff races, however, in this game as well as Week 16 vs. the Colts and Week 17 vs. the Patriots.
New York (5-7) is currently 10th in the NFC but also tied for the East Division lead with Philadelphia and Washington -- the Eagles could lose Sunday at home to Buffalo in the LeSean McCoy Bowl and the Redskins probably will lose on a short week in Chicago. The Giants finish up after this home to Carolina, at Minnesota and home to Philadelphia. I think anything short of a division title costs Coach Tom Coughlin his job -- and I'm not sure a division title with a losing record saves it barring a couple of playoff wins. The Giants are +210 to win the division at BetOnline.
Giants at Dolphins Betting Story Lines
Miami ended a two-game losing streak with a 15-13 home win over injury-decimated Baltimore last week. That game was pretty unwatchable. Miami's two scores were just 20 seconds apart as DeVante Parker caught a 38-yard TD pass from Ryan Tannehill late in the second quarter and then Derrick Shelby returned a Matt Schaub pass 22 yards for a score. Tannehill had a terrible game otherwise, completing only 9-for-19 for 86 yards. Miami had 219 total yards and eight first downs. I don't think there's a question that the Fins hire an offensive-minded head coach even though that didn't work with Joe Philbin. The team just recently fired offensive coordinator Bill Lazor because he generally gave up on the running game. But interim coordinator Zac Taylor gave 20 carries to Lamar Miller, and he finished with 113 yards. Miller had just 12 combined carries the previous two games and hadn't had more than 44 yards rushing since a season-high 175 against Houston on Oct. 25.
Coughlin has made some curious fourth-quarter calls this season that have cost the Giants games -- although QB Eli Manning has to be held accountable as well -- and that was the case last week in a 23-20 overtime loss to the Jets. New York gambled by going for it on fourth-and-2 at the Jets' 4 with a 20-10 lead with about nine minutes left, but Manning was picked off. That was the turning point for the Jets to tie the game late and win it in overtime after Giants kicker Josh Brown missed a 48-yard field goal, his first miss of the year. New York is so close to being a very good team. Six of the Giants' seven losses have been by six points or fewer. Manning has had good yardage totals during the three-game losing streak but is completing barely more than half his passes in that stretch with four picks.
These teams last met in New Jersey in 2011, a 20-17 Giants win in their Super Bowl season. That Miami team was terrible. Manning threw a 25-yard TD pass to Victor Cruz with 5:58 left for the win. Manning threw for 345 yards overall with two scores and no picks. Matt Moore was Miami's QB that day and he threw for only 138 yards. The Giants have won two straight in the series overall.
Giants at Dolphins Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , this game is a pick'em (Giants -125) so no moneyline. The total is 47. On the alternate lines, New York is -1 (-118) and -1.5 (-110). New York is 6-5-1 against the spread (3-2-1 on road) and 7-5 "over/under" (3-3 on road). Miami is 4-8 ATS (1-4 at home) and 6-6 O/U (2-3 at home).
New York is 5-2 ATS in its past seven road games vs. teams with a losing road record. The Giants are 1-5 ATS in their past six on Monday. Miami has failed to cover six straight on Monday and eight straight in December. The over is 5-2 in the Giants' past seven against teams with a losing record. The over is 6-2 in the Dolphins' past eight on Monday. The underdog has covered four straight in the series.
Monday Night Football Predictions: Giants at Dolphins Betting Picks
This might be almost a home game for the Giants. There will be plenty of New Yorkers in South Florida this time of year (or any time of year, really) and it's not like Miami fans are in a rush to see the disappointing Dolphins. Look for receivers Jarvis Landry (Dolphins) and Odell Beckham Jr. (Giants) to try and one-up each other in this game as they are pals from their LSU days (actually met before that). In fact, they have talked about putting on some kind of one-handed catching exhibition before the game. Beckham is working on a string of five straight games with at least 100 yards and has six TDs in that stretch. Guy is crazy good. Landry is underrated and probably puts up much bigger numbers if he's on a team with a QB like Manning. The Giants rank last in passing defense and Miami 22rd.
I'll take the team with more motivation, and that's New York. Go over.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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