On Monday night in the Big Easy the Saints play host to the red-hot Dolphins in what is, pretty much, a must win game for both teams.
The oddsmakers have the Dolphins as a 1.5-point home favorite with a total of 38.5. The Saints opened as a 3-point favorite but are now the underdog with their top two QBs on the COVID-19 list and may unavailable for the game.
After Week 15 the Dolphins are 7-7 and 7-6-1 ATS and the Saints are 7-7 and 7-7 ATS.
The Dolphins have won six in a row and in their last game they were at home and beat the New York Jets 31-24. The win over the weak Jets was not impressive and while they rushed for 183 yards and held New York to 228 total yards they committed three turnovers.
The Saints have won two in a row after a five-game losing streak and their defense came up HUGE in the last game where they were on the road and beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-0. New Orleans beat the Bucs for the second time this season keeping Tom Brady in check and holding Tampa to only 212 total yards.
These teams have not met since the 2017 season.
Get Back to Defense
While the Dolphins won their last game, they gave up 24 points while in the previous five games only gave up an average of 11 ppg.
Tua Tagovailoa (2,141 yards 14 TD 8 INT) had been playing pretty well but in the win over the Jets while passing for two TD he was also picked off twice including a late pick-6 that gave New York a chance to win.
Myles Gaskin (580 yards 3 TD) leads the team in rushing and had 54 yards in the Jets win. Duke Johnson played in only his second game of the season last week and was called up because of COVID-19 issues with some other RBs and rushed for 107 yards, which was huge.
The Dolphins have a decent WR corps that will be better this week with the return of Jaylen Waddle (849 yards 4 TD), who was on the COVID-19 list and missed the last game.
Obviously, New Orleans played great defense in shutting out the Bucs last week and on the season that unit ranks 18th against the pass and fifth against the run.
Lean on the D
The Saints shone on the defensive side of the ball in the win over the Bucs and they may have to have a great defensive game again.
Rookie Ian Book may get the start for this game with Taysom Hill and backup Trevor Siemian on the COVID-19 list. He has not thrown a pass this season but at least he will not have to carry the load with the team a run-first one.
Alvin Kamara (668 yards 4 TD) only had 18 yards in the win over the Bucs and while he ranks third on the team with 348 yards, he only has 38 in the last two games. Still, if Book gets the start he will get a lot of touches.
Marquez Callaway (555 yards 6 TD) had not done much in a few games before the last one where he had 112 yards. He will be key again since second leading WR Devonte Harris is still suspended and out for the Miami game.
Miami ranks a legit seventh in the league defending the run while only 22nd against the pass.
The Dolphins have won six in a row but only one of the wins was facing a team with a winning record. I do not trust Tua to run the Miami offense and he had some major issues in the last game. They will not run for a lot of yards like they did in the last game while their run defense will not contain Kamara and I think Book will have a decent debut if the other two QBs cannot suit up. I look for a defensive battle in this non-conference affair, but at home New Orleans will do jusy enough to win and cover.