If you’re still on the fence about who to bet for the Week 14 finale, Covers enlists the help of expert NFL bloggers to make a pitch for their favorite team. Marco of Giants blog Bleed Big Blue, and Kevin Nogle of Dolphins blog The Phinsider, strap on the pads and butt heads over which team will cover the spread on Monday Night Football.
WHY THE GIANTS WILL COVER
Marco is the founder of BleedBigBlue.com. You can follow the blog on on Facebook and twitter @bleedsbigblue.
Stopping the run
You could argue that the Dolphins are a poor running team, but in the five Dolphins wins this year, they have averaged over 140 yards. Last week, Lamar Miller went for 113 yards on 20 touches against a good Baltimore Ravens defense. The Giants need to stop the run and capitalize on Miami’s mistakes in the passing game.
Rush the ball
The “four headed monster” project really hasn’t worked this year. While we may not possess a true “bell cow” running back we do have some talented ones. Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen, Andre Williams, and Orleans Darkwa need to find a rhythm with more consistent attempts. The Giants should go with the hot hand and let him get the touches. Commitment to the run will certainly open up the passing lanes for Odell Beckham Jr. and Eli Manning to exploit.
Pressure from JPP
While Jason Pierre-Paul’s stat line does not impress, his play on the field does. Motivated to prove doubters wrong, JPP is relentless in his pursuit of the quarterback. On a few occasions, his sacks have been taken away due to a penalty somewhere else on the field.
The Dolphins’ offensive line has had a hard time protecting quarterback Ryan Tannellhill giving up 34 sacks in 12 games. I think this is the week Jason Pierre-Paul will record his 1st sack of the season.
This game is going to be close contest. Both teams are 5-7 but oddly the Giants still have a chance to win the NFC East. Do or die for the G-Men, I think they are due for a game where they change our perception of them.
WHY THE DOLPHINS WILL COVER
Kevin Nogle is the Managing Editor of The Phinsider. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @thephinsider.
Return to the running game
The Dolphins discovered something amazing last week: passing the ball is not the only option on offense. There is an aspect of the game which former offensive coordinator Bill Lazor did not know existed, mainly handing the ball to Lamar Miller.
With Zac Taylor calling the plays for the first time last week, Miller carried the ball 20 times for just the second time in his career. The Dolphins will continue to actually utilize one of their best offensive weapons this week, and it will help the offense be more rounded, and take some of the pressure off Ryan Tannehill.
That alone could be enough for Miami to take advantage of the two-point spread.
Giants pass defense
Let’s face it, the Giants are bad against the pass. They are allowing nearly 30 more passing yards per game than any other team in the league.
The Dolphins are going to want to prove that Ryan Tannehill’s miserable Week 13 performance (9-for-19, 86 yards, 1 TD) was an anomaly and not the norm. That should mean Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker have big days, with Tannehill looking to put up big numbers.
If the run game and the passing game are both clicking – something we have rarely seen this year – the spread is in danger.
The Dolphins lost All Pro defensive end Cameron Wake to an Achilles’ tendon tear earlier this year, and have struggled to find a pass rush. That is until Olivier Vernon got healthy and started dominating.
He has 4.5 sacks in the last three games, giving him 6.5 sacks on the year. Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo is doing a great job moving him around the line, giving opposing offensive lines different looks, and taking advantage of the attention Ndamukong Suh draws on the line to free up Vernon.
He is turning it on the last few weeks and, with a shaky (at best) offensive line for the Giants, Vernon should be able to get after Eli Manning.
Join the debate. Who covers the spread Monday night: Giants or Dolphins?