Game: Los Angeles Rams (5-2) at Miami Dolphins (3-3)
Location: Hard Rock Stadium
Time: Sunday 1 at 1 p.m. ET
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The L.A. Rams rebounded nicely in Week 7, with a solid 24-10 win over the Chicago Bears. Los Angeles visits Miami to lock horns with the Dolphins, who have won three of their last four games. Our sportsbook’s most recent NFL betting odds show the Rams as four-point road favorites.
Each of these squads hopes to represent their respective conferences in Super Bowl LV. The Rams’ odds to win the conference in the NFC (+900), are much better than Miami’s projected chances of winning the AFC (+5000). However, we all know that it’s about the overall quality of a team and their ability to get hot at the right time.
The Dolphins are the hotter team at the moment, and are well-rested following the bye week. However, Miami’s positive momentum is running smack into L.A.’s second-ranked defensive unit in Week 8. The Rams will get first crack at rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa.
Los Angeles Rams
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Next game: Vs Seahawks
The Rams dominated both sides of the ball during Monday’s 24-10 win vs the Bears. Los Angeles won the time of possession battle by 5:10, and held Chicago to 49 yards rushing. The Rams’ vaunted defense sacked Bears’ QB Nick Foles four times, and caused him to throw two interceptions while under constant duress.
The L.A. offense played solidly, controlling the game on the ground by compiling 161 yards and a TD collectively on 34 carries. QB Jared Goff completed 23-of-33 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns, posting a respectable 108.0 quarterback rating. WR Josh Reynolds scored a TD for the second consecutive week, catching four passes for 52 yards. The Rams are rounding into form, and are staking their claim for the crown in a loaded NFC West.
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Next game: At Cardinals
The Dolphins only allowed the Jets into the red zone once in Week 6, and Miami didn’t let NY score. Miami’s D held the Jets to short gains, and NY sabotaged itself further by incurring seven penalties for 80 yards. Meanwhile, the Fins offense scored on 3-of-5 red zone visits, tacking on a 24-yard FG from Jason Sanders as well.
Aside from the 24-0 business-as-usual beatdown the Dolphins gave the Jets, the big news centered around Miami’s quarterback situation. In the final minutes of the blowout victory, rookie Tua Tagovailoa came in to relieve Ryan Fitzpatrick to close it out. Tagovailoa completed both of his passing attempts, totaling nine yards. The No. 5 pick in last year’s draft, Tua has been named the starting QB vs the Rams this coming Sunday.
Betting on the Game
Miami is 4-1 ATS over its last five games, and the Rams are 3-6 ATS in their previous nine contests vs the Dolphins. The L.A. defense is elite, but giving a playoff-caliber team a four-point cushion at home feels like a gift. Take the points to the bank. It’s Tua time!
Stranger things have certainly happened, but I do not expect Tagovailoa to win his first NFL start against the Rams. I do expect the Dolphins to fight extremely hard on their home turf, and to make L.A. sweat. We’ll probably be able to feel the playoff atmosphere seeping through our television sets and mobile devices, ensnaring us.
However, the Dolphins likely lose this game. It will be one of many hard lessons for Tagovailoa to learn, as he carves a path to the future. The young man may even have the opportunity to compete in a playoff game for Miami this season… We shall see.
For both Miami and L.A., the totals trends point to the under pick. The under has hit in four of the Dolphins’ last six games, and in four of the Rams’ previous five. We also have a rookie QB making his first career start against the NFL’s second-best defense. Points should be few and far between, since the Dolphins have the third-ranked defense themselves. I’m excited to watch this brawl in South Florida.
Prediction: Rams 21, Dolphins 17