Mark this down: Miami coach Joe Philbin will not be employed one week from today if his Dolphins go to London and lose to the New York Jets this Sunday. It's actually eerie how similar this is going to play out as to what happened last year.
In Week 4 of 2014, the winless Oakland Raiders went to London and lost to ... the Miami Dolphins. Of course, teams go on their bye week after playing overseas, and the Raiders decided to fire Coach Dennis Allen the day after that defeat. Miami looked terrible in this past Sunday's 41-14 loss in its home opener to Buffalo. Philbin himself admitted his team was "outplayed and outcoached." His team has been outscored 57-19 in the first half of games thus far. That's coaching. I'm not even sure why he still has a job. Philbin said he'll consider everything - depth chart changes, roster moves, alterations to the practice schedule - to get the Dolphins headed in the right direction. On Sportsbook.ag, Philbin is now the heavy +250 favorite to be the first coach fired.
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It's not all on Philbin. The defense has been a major disappointment. Miami spent $114 million on the addition of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who has yet to make an impact. Miami is allowing 145 rushing yards per game. The Dolphins are +2.5 at BetOnline against New York. It's a 9:30 a.m. ET kickoff from Wembley Stadium.
Here are some Week 4 games and opening lines that caught my eye. As usual, I will not touch on the Thursday game, my featured Sunday game (Rams-Cardinals this week probably) or the Monday night game.
Texans at Falcons: (-6.5, 46.5): Are the Falcons good or lucky? Bit of both likely. They outscored Dallas 14-0 in the fourth quarter on Sunday to win 39-28 and improve to 3-0. Atlanta is the first team in NFL history to start 3-0 after trailing in the fourth quarter of each game. Julio Jones had another monster game with 12 catches for 164 yards and two scores. Jones has 34 receptions, the most in NFL history by a player in his teams' first three games to start a season. The previous mark was 31 by Troy Brown (2002), Clark Gaines (1980) and Wes Welker (2011). Jones is also the first player in league history to record at least 135 receiving yards in each of his team's first three games. Houston beat Tampa Bay 19-9 on Sunday for its first win. The Texans might get back No. 1 running back Arian Foster this week. Key trend: Atlanta is 4-5-1 ATS in its past 10 as home favorite of at least 6.5 points. The pick: Falcons.
Raiders at Bears (+2.5, 44): This is how far the Bears franchise has fallen -- they are home underdogs to the freaking Raiders. Chicago was totally outclassed in Sunday's 26-0 loss in Seattle, somewhat amazingly punting on every possession. It's the first time that has happened to any NFL team since at least 1980. Only one Chicago drive finished in Seattle territory, and the Bears ran just three plays on the Seahawks' half of the field. It was the first time the Bears were shut out since 2002. Jimmy Clausen, starting for an injured Jay Cutler, was pathetic, going 9-for-17 for 63 yards. With sacks included, the Bears finished with 48 net yards passing, the second time since 1990 they finished with less than 50 net yards through the air. Don't be surprised if Clausen is pulled if he struggles early in this one for David Fales. Cutler hasn't been ruled out officially yet, but it's a huge long shot he plays. The Bears made a move on Monday in trading linebacker Jared Allen to Carolina. Chicago still has to pay $11.5 million of Allen's salary. It will get a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2016 draft. Key trend: Chicago is 1-9 ATS in past 10 as home dog. The pick: Raiders unless by some miracle Cutler plays.
Jaguars at Colts (-8, 47): Indianapolis is the biggest favorite on Sunday. I'm not sure the Colts are fixed yet even though they avoided a 0-3 start with a 35-33 win at Tennessee in Week 3. The Titans led 27-14 at one point, but Andrew Luck threw two touchdown passes 56 seconds apart in the fourth quarter. It was the 12th time that Luck has led the Colts on a winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime in his career. He also had two more interceptions and leads the NFL with seven. Jacksonville was destroyed in New England on Sunday and might have to face Luck minus five defensive backs. Strong safety Josh Evans suffered an MCL injury, and free safety Sergio Brown suffered a calf strain. Evans is listed as day to day, while Brown will be re-evaluated later in the week. In addition, cornerback Davon House suffered a lower leg sprain and also will be re-evaluated later in the week. They join safety Johnathan Cyprien (calf) and cornerback Dwayne Gratz (ankle) on the injured list. Key trend: Colts are 3-3 ATS in six games as a home favorite of at least 7 points in series. The pick: Colts.
Browns at Chargers (-7.5, 45): Cleveland coach Mike Pettine says he isn't going to start Johnny Manziel this week even though starter Josh McCown wasn't great in Sunday's 27-20 home loss to the Raiders, who ended an 11-game road losing streak. Oakland also ended a 16-game losing streak in the Eastern time zone, a drought stretching to 2009. McCown threw for 341 yards but was sacked five times and had a key pick. The Browns were driving for a tying TD in the final minute, but Charles Woodson intercepted McCown, who was trying to hit Travis Benjamin down the right sideline. Pettine said he never considered switching to Manziel in the game and has no plans to here. This is San Diego's final game without suspended tight end Antonio Gates. Key trend: San Diego is 5-5 ATS in past 10 as home favorite of at least 7 points. The pick: Chargers.
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