Thursday, October 25 at 8:20 PM ET
The struggling Miami Dolphins look to bounce back when they visit the red-hot Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football.
The Miami Dolphins followed up their impressive 31-28 win over the Chicago Bears with a 32-21 home loss against the Detroit Lions. The Dolphins opened the season 3-0 but they have lost three of their last four games and they need to beat the Texans to stay in the race for the AFC East. Miami's run defense was exposed against the Detroit, allowing 248 rushing yards and one touchdown on 35 carries and they need to play better against a Houston team that averages 109.2 yards per game on the ground.
The Miami offense played well on Sunday but they spent a lot of time on the bench because the defense couldn't stop the run. Brock Osweiler, filling in for the injured Ryan Tannehill for the second straight week, completed 22 of 31 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns, Kenyan Drake ran for 72 yards and one touchdown on six carries and Danny Amendola caught six passes for 84 receiving yards and one touchdown. The key to this game for the Dolphins is to avoid falling behind early and run the ball effectively.
The Dolphins are averaging 222.3 passing yards (25th in the NFL) and 106.9 rushing yards (10th). Miami ranks 23rd with 21.6 points per game and 18th with 25.3 points against. Brock Osweiler has passed for 654 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions, Frank Gore has 332 rushing yards on 72 carries and Albert Wilson has 26 receptions for 391 yards and four touchdowns. Kiko Alonso has 66 tackles and Xavien Howard has three interceptions.
The Houston Texans recovered from an 0-3 start by winning their last four games, including last Sunday's 20-7 road victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars to take sole possession of first place in the AFC South. The Houston defense came up big against Jacksonville, forcing three turnovers and their offense did a great job running the ball to take a lot of pressure away from quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Texans finished with 141 rushing yards and one touchdown on 37 carries.
Deshaun Watson completed 12 of 24 passes for 139 yards and one touchdown, Lamar Miller ran for 100 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries and DeAndre Hopkins made three receptions for 50 yards and one touchdown. With the Dolphins giving up 248 rushing yards to the Lions, expect the Texans run the ball early and often to exploit the Dolphins' defense and if they're successful they will give themselves a great chance to win.
The Texans are averaging 258.4 passing yards (16th in the NFL) and 113.7 rushing yards (15th). Houston ranks 21st with 22.1 points per game and 8th with 20.6 points against. Deshaun Watson has passed for 1937 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions, Lamar Miller has 371 rushing yards and one touchdown on 95 carries and DeAndre Hopkins has 47 receptions for 707 yards and four touchdowns. Zach Cunningham has 61 tackles and J.J. Watt has seven sacks.
The Miami Dolphins are:
7-18-1 ATS in their last 26 games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game
5-17 ATS in their last 22 games on fieldturf
1-7 ATS in their last eight road games
0-6 ATS in their last six road games against a team with a winning home record
The Houston Texans are:
4-0-1 ATS in their last five games in Week 8
The stingy Houston run defense surrenders just 3.5 yards per carry, presenting a formidable challenge for Miami's ground game, so it will be hard for them to stay in the game. The Texans have won four straight games and their defense seems to be back on track while the Dolphins are crashing down to earth. These two teams are heading in opposite directions and Kenny Stills suffered a groin strain toward the end of the game against the Lions so I like the Texans to ride their wave of momentum and win by at least a touchdown.
NFL Pick: Texans -7 (-110) at Jazz Sports