Detroit @ Miami
Vegas: MIA +3
DomModel: MIA -9.782
Recommendation: MIA +3
Detroit Lions: (week 6 bye)
-RB Kerryon Johnson (ankle) left his week 5 game and did not return. His injury occurred in the 4th quarter, and Johnson said he could have returned if necessary. He practiced in full on Wednesday (10/17).
-RB Theo Riddick (knee) did not practice on Wednesday (10/17).
-G T.J. Lang left week 4 with a concussion. Lang has a long history with concussions. He was INACTIVE week 5. He was limited in practice on Wednesday (10/17), meaning he is likely still in concussion protocol.
-DE Ziggy Ansah (shoulder) was INACTIVE weeks 3-5. He was limited in practice on Wednesday (10/17).
-CB Teez Tabor (groin) left his week 5 game and did not return. He practiced in full on Wednesday (10/17).
-QB Ryan Tannehill (hip) was INACTIVE week 6. He is OUT week 7.
-WR DaVante Parker (quad) was inactive weeks 4 and 5. He played 5 snaps week 6 and practiced in full on Wednesday (10/17) and Thursday (10/18).
-C Daniel Kilgore tore his tricpes during his week 4 game and is done for the year.
-LG Josh Sitton (shoulder) is done for the season.
-DE Cameron Wake (knee) was INACTIVE weeks 5 and 6. He was limited in practice on Wednesday (10/17) and Thursday (10/18).
-DE William Hayes suffered a knee injury during his week 3 game and is on IR.
-DE Jonathan Woodard (concussion) was injured week 6 and did not return. He did not practice Wednesday (10/17) or Thursday (10/18).
-DE Charles Harris (knee) was INACTIVE week 6 and did not practice on Wednesday (10/17) or Thursday (10/18).
-CB Bobby McCain injured his knee during his week 4 game and was INACTIVE weeks 5 and 6. He was limited in practice Wednesday (10/17) and Thursday (10/18).
When Miami has the ball:
Let’s start with elephant in the room that is Brock Osweiler. Yes, he’s starting for the Dolphins this week. That absolutely cuts into the value that the model is claiming, but we have to take a hard look at it because the 12 point difference between the model and Vegas is absolutely massive. Typically we’re betting games that have a 3-4 point difference.
Yeah, we’re talking about Brock Osweiler. Osweiler is best known for being the only human being on this planet that can make DeAndre Hopkins look like a bad wide receiver. The question, as always, is who is he replacing?
Ryan Tannehill has been a dumpster fire this season. His numbers may look decent enough – 65.9% completion percentage, 8 TDs, 4 picks.. okay, not horrible. But he ranks 29/34 qualified QBs in Football Outsider’s DYAR and has a PFF passing grade of 50.8, which is not passing (yeah I did). Is Osweiler a joke? Of course, but he’s replacing a joke. By the way, Osweiler did play awesome against the Bears last week, but we throw away one game samples at firstandthirty like they’re a Brock Osweiler pass. Lots of jokes flying around, folks.
Along the offensive line, the Dolphins lost C Daniel Kilgore and LG Josh Sitton for the season, and it hasn’t been pretty since. They have decent depth at receiver, typically favoring Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola, and Albert Wilson. In the backfield, it’s a committee with Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore. Old man Gore has actually been considerably outplaying Drake. There’s a lot of issues with the offense, but it’s worth noting that Football Outsider’s DAVE ranking puts them at 15, which is likely better than you realized.
When I say Detroit’s “defense,” I promise I’m not using that term ironically. They’ve been pretty horrible no matter which way you slice it. At corner, they’ve featured Nevin Lawson and Darrius Slay. Lawson is a 2014 4th round pick out of Utah State who has never really produced at the NFL level. Slay is typically one of the top corners in the league, but he’s been getting torched this year – QBs have a 109.3 rating when targeting Slay.
Their pass rush has been mostly Devon Kennard and Romeo Okwara, and neither have been consistently able to get to the quarterback. Against the run, they rank 27th in DVOA. You basically have the pick of the litter on how you want to attack these guys.
TL;DR Conclusion: Yes, it’s Brock Osweiler. Yes, Brock Osweiler sucks. The point is, however, that the man Osweiler is replacing has been horrible, and the Lions defense is one of the worst in the league.
When Detroit has the ball:
Detroit has had a rough start to the year offensively. Matt Stafford has been inconsistent, but is showing relatively good numbers (66% completion percentage, 10 TDs, 5 TD picks). To be fair to Stafford, 4 of those INTs came in the week 1 MNFS (Monday Night Fuck Show) against the Jets. In the passing game, the Lions feature a solid receiving trio: Kenny Golladay is enjoying a sophomore break out season (428 yards, 3 TDs), Golden Tate has been as reliable as ever out of the slot, and Marvin Jones has been struggling this year, but he’s a veteran who’s been a consistent performer over the last few years.
In the running game, the Lions will likely be without pass catching specialist Theo Riddick. They’ve stubbornly given LeGarrette Blount way too much work. They should be instead feeding rookie Keryon Johnson, who has outperformed Blount consistently this year. Time will tell.
As for their offensive line, they have been impressively mediocre all year.
Miami has been solid in all phases defensively. The biggest issue injury wise is their edge defenders. Cam Wake, their top pass rusher, has missed the last two games. He’s been practicing this week, but has been limited. That makes him a legit questionable for Sunday. They also lost Jonathan Woodard (concussion) and Charles Harris (knee) last week. Neither are practicing, so it’s unlikely they’ll play Sunday. This makes Wake’s potential return that much more important. The defensive interior has mostly been a rotation of Akeem Spence, Davon Godchaux, and Vincent Taylor. They’ve teamed up with the edge guys and LB Kiko Alonso to perform well against the run.
At defensive back, the Dolphins are lead by CB Xavien Howard. Howard is one of the few corners in the league that shadows top receivers. Given the Lions trio, Howard probably won’t shadow at all. Instead, they’ll rely on Minkah Fitzpatrick in the slot and Bobby McCain on the outside (assuming McCain plays).
TL;DR conclusion: On paper, the Lions have a solid offense. Luckily for us, this game is decided with real human beings on the football field. So far this season, the Lions have not lived up to the hype and the Dolphins have been solid defensively.
I’ll end with saying something nice about Brock Osweiler. He is tall and has nice hair.
Please don’t fuck this up for us.
That’s it for now, bitches.