Odds for the 2015 Miami Dolphins NFL Road Schedule
by Alan Matthews - 7/29/2015
If you ask me, the team that likely will benefit most from Tuesday's news that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell upheld Tom Brady's four-game "Deflategate" suspension -- although this likely will still be decided in federal court -- would be the Miami Dolphins. Unfortunately for the Fins, they don't play New England in its first four games, but clearly Miami has more talent than Buffalo and the New York Jets in an attempt to end the Pats' stranglehold on the AFC East. Ryan Tannehill is coming off a career year and is the easily second-best quarterback in the division behind Brady. Tannehill has better receivers than Brady does, too, in rising star Jarvis Landry, the trade for the Saints' Kenny Stills and drafting of Louisville's DeVante Parker. The Miami defense also should be better than New England’s with the addition of Ndamukong Suh.
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Embattled Miami coach Joe Philbin probably did a little dance in his office on Tuesday. It's obviously important for the Fins to get off to a good start to get perhaps a two-game lead on the Pats by the time Brady returns. And I think a 4-0 start is possible with how Miami's first four games shake out. I'm not confident New England will be any better than 2-2 once Brady returns.
Miami was 4-4 on the road last regular season, 4-4 against the spread and 3-5 "over/under." The Dolphins' 2015 road schedule ranks as the fourth-easiest in the NFL with an opponents' combined 2014 winning percentage of .414. It's the second-easiest in the AFC East.
Here's the schedule with very early (opponent) odds.
Sept. 13 -- at Redskins (+2.5): Think back to the end of the 2012 season. Washington's Robert Griffin III, the No. 2 overall pick in 2012, was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and looked like a future superstar. No. 8 overall pick Tannehill looked ... meh. Yet it's Tannehill who now has the massive long-term extension and job security. First Miami trip to Redskins since 2007. Fins win this. Key trend: Dolphins 5-5 ATS in past 10 as road favorite of 2.5 points or fewer.
Sept. 20 -- at Jaguars (+4): Jacksonville is off a Week 1 home opener against Carolina. There's simply no reason for Miami not to win Week 1, this game and then the next two at home vs. Buffalo and the Jets. The AFC East is potentially on a silver platter. Dolphins won in Jacksonville 27-13 in Week 8 last year. They had two interception returns for touchdowns. Tannehill threw for 196 yards, a TD and a pick. Fins win this. Key trend: Dolphins 10-0 SU in past 10 as road favorite of at least 4 points (7-3 ATS).
Oct. 18 -- at Titans (+3): Miami is off its bye week, while Tennessee is home to Buffalo in Week 5. Yet another iffy quarterback the Fins get to face as I'm assuming Marcus Mariota will have a steep learning curve. First Miami trip to Nashville since 2009. Fins win here and should be 5-0. Key trend: Dolphins 4-6 ATS in past 10 after a bye (any location).
Oct. 29 -- at Patriots (-5.5): Thursday night game and start of a tough three-game road trip for Dolphins. Miami is off a home game vs. Houston, while New England is off a home game vs. the Jets, the team's first home game with Brady back presumably. Miami was routed 41-13 in New England in Week 15 last season as the Pats clinched the division. It was only 14-13 at halftime. Tannehill threw for 346 yards, but it took him 47 attempts. He had a TD and two picks. Miami loses this one. Key trend: Dolphins 5-5 ATS in past 10 as road dog of at least 3.5 points in series.
Nov. 8 -- at Bills (-2): Buffalo comes off its bye week. The Fins lost 29-10 in Buffalo in Week 2 last season, seemingly totally flat off a Week 1 upset of the Patriots. Probably going to be a bit colder this time around. Tannehill went 31-for-49 for 241 yards with a touchdown and interception. The Dolphins were limited to six first downs and 62 yards of offense in the opening half and never advanced past their 41 but trailed only 9-0. Miami loses here. Key trend: Dolphins have failed to cover (and lost) seven straight as road dog in series.
Nov. 15 -- at Eagles (-3.5): Philadelphia could be caught a bit flat here off a big Week 9 game in Dallas on Sunday night. Miami has lost three straight in the series, last in 2011. Dolphins drop a fourth straight to Philly. Key trend: Dolphins 6-4 ATS in past 10 at NFC teams.
Nov. 29 -- at Jets (+1.5): Miami is off a Week 11 game vs. Dallas, while New York is in Houston the previous Sunday. This will be Fins' final cold-weather regular-season game. Miami won 16-13 in Week 13 at MetLife Stadium last season. Caleb Sturgis' third field goal, from 26 yards with 1:57 remaining, was the winner. The Dolphins were gashed for 277 rushing yards and had only 291 total yards themselves. Miami wins this one. Key trend: Dolphins 2-8 ATS in past 10 as road favorite in series.
Dec. 20 -- at Chargers (-3): Short week for Miami as it hosts the New York Giants on Monday night in Week 14. San Diego is off a trip to Kansas City and could be playing its final game ever at Qualcomm Stadium before a possible move to Los Angeles. The Dolphins' best performance of last season overall was a 37-0 rout of visiting San Diego in Week 9. Tannehill threw for 288 yards and three scores and Miami forced four turnovers. It almost seemed like the team won it for Philbin, whose father had recently passed away. It was Miami's first shutout since 2006 and most lopsided win since 1995. Dolphins lose. Key trend: Dolphins 8-2 ATS in past 10 at AFC West teams.
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