A change in head coaches has been akin to a magic wand for the revitalized Miami Dolphins, who have rolled up 82 points in romping to a pair of lopsided victories since Dan Campbell replaced the fired Joe Philbin. The Dolphins may need some magic when they head north to visit Tom Brady and the undefeated New England Patriots in an AFC East matchup on Thursday night.
Miami had lost three in a row and failed to score more than 20 points in each of its first four games before Philbin was let go, but it has responded to the change with a 38-10 romp at Tennessee before a 44-26 mauling of Houston on Sunday. “You look at our work out there and it really was a team effort,” Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill said after leading his team to a 41-0 halftime lead over the Texans on Sunday. New England rallied from a 20-16 fourth-quarter deficit to beat the visiting New York Jets 30-23 in a showdown for division supremacy. The Patriots, who are averaging a league-best 35.5 points, have won eight of the last 10 meetings versus Miami.
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, CBS, NFL Network.
LINE HISTORY: The Patriots opened as 8.5-point home favorites and have been bet down slightly to the current number of New England -8. The total has been bet down from 51.5 to 50.5.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Miami (-2) – Patriots (-9.5) + home field (-3) = Patriots -10.5
Miami – CB B. McCain (probable Thursday, knee), CB B. Grimes (probable Thursday, knee), C M. Pouncey (probable Thursday, hip), LB S. Paysinger (probable Thursday, groin), DB Z. Bowman (probable Thursday, shoulder), DT A. Francis (questionable Thursday, back).
Patriots – OL S. Mason (questionable Thursday, knee), RB B. Bolden (questionable Thursday, knee), RB D. Lewis (questionable Thursday, abdominal), WR K. Martin (questionable Thursday, hamstring), OL M. Cannon (out Thursday, toe).
WEATHER REPORT: It will be partly cloudy around kickoff, but should clear up throughout the evening. There is just a 10 percent chance of rain and with temperatures in the low 50’s. There will also be an eight mile per hour wind blowing across the field.
ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (3-3, 3-3 ATS, 4-2 O/U): Tannehill compiled a perfect passer rating of 158.3 while going 18-of-19 for 282 yards with four touchdowns while establishing an NFL record with 25 consecutive completions over a two-game span. The biggest beneficiary of the coaching change has been running back Lamar Miller, who averaged 32.8 yards rushing in his first four games before putting up 113 yards against Tennessee and 175 versus Houston while scoring in both games. The Dolphins have also come alive on the other side of the ball by recording nine of their sacks over the past two games.
ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (6-0, 3-2-1 ATS, 4-2 O/U): Facing a Jets defense that ranked among the league leaders in nearly every category, New England eschewed the run and put the ball in the hands of Brady, who threw for 355 yards and a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. Brady, who became the fifth QB in league history to surpass 55,000 yards, has 16 TD passes versus one interception and his favorite targets are Julian Edelman (45 receptions, four TDs) and behemoth tight end Rob Gronkowski, who already has six receiving scores. The Patriots are allowing 21 points per game but rank fourth in the league with 21 sacks.
* Home team is 6-0 ATS in the last six meetings.
* Favorites are 4-1 ATS in their five meetings.
* Under is 6-0-1 in the Dolphins last seven Thursday games.
* Over is 4-1 in Patriots last five games overall.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The public is fairly split for this AFC East showdown, with 53. 38 percent of wagers backing the Patriots.