With quarterback Ryan Tannehill sidelined by an ACL and MCL sprain in his right knee, the Miami Dolphins have little choice but to turn the keys over to veteran Matt Moore in their drive to end an eight-year playoff drought. The 32-year-old Moore will make his first start in five years on Saturday night as Miami begins a stretch of three straight games versus AFC East opponents with a visit to the New York Jets.
“My heart breaks, man. I know how much (Tannehill) just puts his heart and soul into this and hard work,” said Moore, who went 3-for-5 for 47 yards to lead Miami to a game-winning field goal in Sunday’s 26-23 triumph over Arizona. While the Dolphins reside on the wrong end of a tiebreaker for the final wild-card spot, the Jets’ destination is all but assured as they have made themselves comfortable in the cellar of the division. New York snapped a four-game losing skid in impressive fashion on Sunday, however, as Bilal Powell exploded for 179 yards and two touchdowns on 34 touches in a 23-17 overtime win versus San Francisco. Powell could receive the bulk of the work against Miami’s 30th-ranked rush defense (133.8 yards per game) with veteran running back Matt Forte nursing a knee injury.
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Dolphins (3) – Jets (4.5) + home field (-3) = Jets -1.5
LINE HISTORY: The Jets opened the week as 3-point dogs at home and that number had dropped half a point to 2.5. The total opened at 40.5 and that was to high according to the betting public and has been bet down three full points to 37.5. Check out the complete line history here.
WHAT SHARPS SAY: “The first NFL Saturday match of the season finds AFC East division rivals the Miami Dolphins tackling the New York Jets with the Fish forced to resort to backup QB Matt Moore in this contest. The combination of a cold weather site and the pressure of having to win to stay in the AFC Wild Card chase weighs heavily on Miami, but newbie Jets QB Bruce Petty and a lousy 1-5 record at home this season by the Jets also factors in”. Covers Expert Marc Lawrence
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “We absolutely love these off-night games because the handle increases quite a bit. It’s not a sext matchup so the majority of the action will come in Saturday, but right now we’ve got about 70 percent of the money on New York. The sharps took the +3 early and then we’ve seen some of the public follow suit. The expectance of inclement weather has dropped the total four full points.” – Scott Cooley odds consultant of BookMaker.eu
WEATHER REPORT: The forecast for MetLife Stadium Saturday night is calling for 1-2 inches of snow changing to rain, temperatures in the mid-40’s and north winds of 11 mph.
Dolphins – S Isa Abdul-Quddus (probable, neck), OT Branden Albert (probable, wrist), CB Bobby McCain (probable, hand), LB Spencer Paysinger (probable, thigh), C Anthony Steen (probable, toe), LB Kiko Alonso (probable, hamstring), CB Xavien Howard (questionable, knee), LB Jelani Jenkins (questionable, knee), DE Mario Williams (questionable, ankle), QB Ryan Tannehill (out indefinitely, knee), DE Dion Jordan (IR, knee), C Mike Pouncey (IR, hip), S Reshad Jones (IR, shoulder).
Jets – WR Brandon Marshall (probable, knee), WR Quincy Enunwa (probable, ribs), RB Matt Forte (questionable, knee), LB Mike Catapano (questionable, knee), OL Brent Qvale (questionable, hamstring), DE Muhammad Wilkerson (questionable, ankle), DT Steve McLendon (questionable, hamstring), WR Jalin Marshall (questionable, concussion), LB Lorenzo Mauldin (questionable, ankle), RB Khiry Robinson (questionable, leg), CB Buster Skrine (questionable, concussion), TE Brandon Bostick (questionable, ankle), TE Kellen Davis (IR, elbow), OT Breno Giacomini (IR, back), S Marcus Gilchrist (IR, knee), S Antonio Allen (IR, concussion)
ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (8-5 SU, 7-6 ATS, 9-4 O/U): While Moore is known as a bit of a gunslinger, coach Adam Gase likely will look to take pressure off the veteran quarterback and lean on Jay Ajayi and the ground game as it targets a Jets team that was gashed for 193 rushing yards by Carlos Hyde on Sunday. Ajayi amassed 111 yards in Miami’s 27-23 victory over New York on Nov. 6 but has struggled to get untracked of late with 154 yards on 50 carries over his last three games. Ajayi recorded back-to-back 200-yard performances with Mike Pouncey in the lineup, but the Pro Bowl center was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with an ailing hip.
ABOUT THE JETS (4-9 SU, 5-8 ATS, 6-6-1 O/U): Quarterback Bryce Petty has enjoyed quite the connection with promising wideout Robby Anderson, with the pair hooking up on a 26-yard reception to set up the winning touchdown in overtime Sunday. The 23-year-old Anderson has converted 23 targets over the last two games into 10 receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown. By comparison, veteran wide receiver and former Dolphin Brandon Marshall (team-leading 56 catches, 744 yards) matched his season low with three receptions for 33 yards versus San Francisco.
* Dolphins are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. AFC.
* Jets are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS win.
* Over is 6-1 in Dolphins last 7 games overall.
* Over is 5-1 in Dolphins last 6 games following a ATS win.
* Under is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings in New York.
COVERS CONSENSUS: 64 percent of the Covers picking public is grabbing the road favorite Dolphins and 53 percent are taking the Over. View full consensus data here.