Miami had a 4th and 1 near midfield. Tied at 20 with Jacksonville, they chose the aggressive and analytically sound choice of going for it with less than two minutes remaining.
Miami didn’t convert, and Jacksonville took over to kick a game winning field goal. Now, Miami is an underdog to Atlanta in week 7.
Miami has been a disappointment in 2021. During the preseason, they projected as an average NFL team by my numbers and had potential upside if second year QB Tua Tagovailoa could make a jump. However, Tagovailoa got hurt against Buffalo week 2, and under Jacoby Brissett the offense looked worse than the hair cut of Raiders owner Mark Davis.
Tagovailoa came back last week against Jacksonville, and he played reasonably well without his two best receivers (WRs Will Fuller and DeVante Parker). In this game, Miami had a 46.8% pass success rate (45.8% NFL average).
While the offense might get back on track, the defense hasn’t held up their end of the bargain. They rank 19th in my passing success rate adjusted for opponent, and both starting CBs Xavien Howard and Byron Jones are banged up and didn’t play against Jacksonville.
However, they play an Atlanta team that looks stuck in NFL purgatory: not bad enough for the top pick in the 2022 draft, but with a ceiling of NFL average.
QB Matt Ryan is still around, but the pass offense ranks 20th in my adjusted success rate. The defense can’t break out of the bottom five in the NFL.
The one good thing for Atlanta: health. They have lost CB Isaiah Oliver for the season but otherwise aren’t saddled by the lengthy injury lists that plague other teams.
Atlanta is a 2.5 point road favorite at Miami. I could only make the Falcons a road favorite this large against Houston. Miami has struggled in 2021, but they are not Houston.
My numbers like Miami by 4.1 points. Even with the mediocrity of Jacoby Brissett, the adjusted metrics from only this season like Miami by 2.7 points. I like the Dolphins +2.5 and to win outright at home against Atlanta.
Football betting with a PhD edge
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