Fish to Land First Win?
The Miami Dolphins are trying to avoid becoming the seventh team in NFL history to open a season 0-12. This also may be their best chance to make sure they are not the first 0-16 team the league has ever had.
That's because they will be hosting the team closest to them at the bottom of the AFC standings as the rival New York Jets visit Dolphin Stadium.
Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Miami -1 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for Sunday’s game, the over/under has been set at 38 total points (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 51% of bets for this game have been placed on Miami -1 (View NFL Football bet percentages).
Only six teams in league history have started with 12 consecutive losses. The last one to do it was the 2001 Detroit Lions, who finished 2-14. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the only squad to go winless for an entire season, finishing 0-14 in 1976.
The Dolphins (0-11) are on an overall 14-game losing streak, dating back to a 21-0 win over New England on Dec. 10, 2006. That slide is the longest in the NFL since Carolina dropped 15 games in a row in 2001.
Miami is the only team in the league with a worse record than the Jets (2-9), who have lost all five of their road games this season.
"We're not that much a step ahead of them so we can't worry about that," Jets safety Kerry Rhodes told the team's official Web site. "They're a dangerous team."
This is clearly the Dolphins' easiest remaining opportunity to avert a winless season, even though their schedule down the stretch is not overly difficult - three of their final four opponents are currently under .500.
New York has won the last three meetings and six of seven, but struggled to hold off Miami 31-28 at the Meadowlands on Sept. 23.
That is one of six losses by a field goal for the Dolphins, the latest of which came Monday in a 3-0 defeat at Pittsburgh in a game marred by sloppy field conditions due to a driving rainstorm. The teams were limited to 375 combined yards and did not score until Jeff Reed's 24-yard field goal with 17 seconds to play.
"We can do some things, but until we learn how to finish games and make plays when we need to we're going to get the same results," Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor said. "I thought the last couple of weeks we gave forth an effort that was good enough to win. You're never as bad as you think you are and you're never as good as you think you are."
Miami has produced only 27 total points in the last four contests, but the defense has held opponents to 46 in that span.
"It is a group that obviously continues to play extremely hard," first-year Dolphins coach Cam Cameron said. "Offensively, we have had a tough time the last few weeks generating enough offense to score. Our defense has given us a chance to win each and every week."
Miami, which lost two fumbles against the Steelers, has not thrown an interception in four contests since opening the year with 11 picks in seven games. The offense, though, only has one touchdown pass in the last five games and is using rookie John Beck under center.
Beck went 14-for-23 for 132 yards against Pittsburgh, a week after completing 9 of 22 passes for 109 yards in a 17-7 loss at Philadelphia in his NFL debut.
"I did feel like there was progress and that's what I'm trying to do each week, is just help myself get better, so that way I can help the team be better," said Beck, who will face a New York secondary that has intercepted a pass in nine straight games.
Beck could be hurt by the absence of a rushing attack after two more Dolphins running backs were injured last week.
Ricky Williams suffered a torn chest muscle and is lost for the season, a week after being reinstated by the league after a 1 1/2-year suspension for violating the NFL drug policy. Jesse Chatman's status is in doubt after he injured his neck.
The team already had been without starter Ronnie Brown due to a season-ending torn ACL. He ran for three scores in the last meeting with the Jets.
If Chatman can't play, that would leave Miami with Patrick Cobbs and rookie Lorenzo Booker in the backfield. Cobbs has 47 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries and Booker has not touched the ball in two games.
New York, meanwhile, is hoping an extended layoff can help it rebound from its most lopsided loss of the season, 34-3 at Dallas on Thanksgiving Day, a week after a surprising 19-16 overtime victory over Pittsburgh.
"We didn't play good enough to win," Rhodes said. "It's indicative of our season. I didn't think we could play this bad."
The Jets hope Thomas Jones, the team leader with 763 rushing yards, can have a bounce-back performance after only gaining 40 yards on 17 carries against the Cowboys. He had 117 rushing yards the previous week, and totaled 110 in the last contest with Miami.
By: Staff Writers - Email Us
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