NFL Monday

BXa7e.St.56MIAMI DOLPHINS (4-4) at TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (0-8) Line & Total: Miami -2.5 & 41
Opening Line & Total: Dolphins -3.5 & 41.5

The Buccaneers will be going for their first win of the NFL season when they host the Dolphins on Monday night.

Tampa Bay jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead in Seattle last week and was still up 24-7 in the third quarter, but blew the lead and eventually lost 27-24 in overtime. Miami, on the other hand, defeated the Bengals on a game-winning overtime safety on Halloween night. However, all the news out of south Florida has been the alleged hazing incident of OG Richie Incognito, which forced OT Jonathan Martin to check into a hospital. Despite the distraction, the Dolphins are still playing .500 football this season while the Buccaneers appear to be heading towards a very early draft pick in 2014. Tampa Bay is only 2-6 ATS this season, but is 4-0 ATS (3-1 SU) against Miami since 1997. But over the past three seasons, the Bucs are 1-9 ATS after failing to cover the spread in three out of their past four games, and 4-16 ATS after two or more consecutive losses during that same timeframe. On the bright side for Tampa Bay, the club is 50-31 ATS (62%) in November games since 1992. The Buccaneers will still be without top RB Doug Martin (shoulder), who is out indefinitely after tearing his labrum, while both teams have key wide receivers out for the year in Miami’s Brandon Gibson (knee) and Tampa’s Mike Williams (hamstring).

Miami improved to 4-4 SU with last week’s overtime victory over the Bengals. After gaining 156 rushing yards in New England, the Dolphins ran the ball effectively for a second straight week versus Cincinnati, racking up 157 yards on the ground behind 105 yards on 16 carries (6.6 YPC) from Lamar Miller. However, with the absence of the two starting linemen involved in the hazing incident (OG Richie Incognito and OT Jonathan Martin), the Miami O-Line is not in great shape right now. QB Ryan Tannehill must do a better job against the Buccaneers than what he’s done in the past five games, completing 57% of his passes for 1,150 yards (6.3 YPA), 7 TD and 7 INT. Last week, Tannehill was very accurate (71.4% completions) and threw no interceptions, but he also didn’t throw any touchdown passes while finishing with just 208 passing yards. The Dolphins need to do a better job of moving the ball as their 28th-ranked offense (315 total YPG) must be able to sustain more drives and improve its 28:30 time of possession (6th-worst in league). Miami has been quite effective in the red zone though with a 64.0% efficiency rate (6th-best in NFL). The Dolphins defense has also been mediocre this year, allowing 252.3 yards per game through the air (22nd in NFL) and 116.5 yards per game on the ground (21st in NFL). However, star DE Cameron Wake showed that he’s finally healthy last week with a monster performance of three sacks, a forced fumble and the game-winning safety in overtime. They will need him to provide a consistent pass rush to shut down a Tampa Bay offense that has struggled all season.

After blowing a 24-7 lead with just over 20 minutes to play versus the Seahawks, the Buccaneers are still searching for their first win of the season. Their strength is on defense where they allow just 240.5 passing yards per game (15th in NFL) and 107.5 rushing yards per game (13th in NFL). Backed by a good secondary led by shutdown CB Darrelle Revis, the Bucs defense has not been the root of their problems. The issues come on offense where the team averages only 15.5 PPG and 304 total YPG, which both rank second-worst in the NFL. Rookie QB Mike Glennon leads a passing attack that averages just 196.8 yards per game (2nd-worst in NFL) on a league-low 5.26 net yards per attempt. But Glennon has been a major upgrade from Josh Freeman, as the rookie has completed 60.3% of his passes for 1,165 yards, 8 TD and just 3 INT. With RB Doug Martin out indefinitely, rookie RB Mike James has stepped up nicely, rushing for 158 yards on 28 carries (5.6 YPC) last week. This game is winnable for Tampa, but they must play mistake-free football like in Seattle when a +3 turnover margin nearly gave the 16-point underdogs a straight-up victory.