The Miami Dolphins (7-7) will try to extend the quietest six-game winning streak in NFL history when they take on the New Orleans Saints (7-7) this Monday night. The Saints are riding high off that shocking 9-0 upset of Tom Brady and the Buccaneers on Sunday night but more quarterback drama looms. Keep reading to check the NFL odds and start cashing out!
Miami Dolphins vs. New Orleans Saints
Monday, December 27, 2021 – 08:15 PM EST at Caesars Superdome
New Orleans (7-7 ATS) has gone from a 3-point favorite to a 3-point underdog against the Dolphins (7-6-1 ATS) at many of BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks.
The line moved after news broke Thursday that quarterbacks Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian are out after being placed on the COVID list. This means fourth-round rookie Ian Book is preparing to make his NFL debut.
There is a chance head coach Sean Payton could be back for the Saints after having to sit out the last game with a positive COVID test. Can the Saints keep pushing towards a wild card or will Miami extend the winning streak to seven?
Miami: From 1-7 to 6-0
Brian Flores’ Dolphins have taken an unusual path to 7-7 mediocrity this year. Through eight games, the Dolphins (1-7) were tied for the second-worst record and ranked 29th in scoring differential (minus-95 points). The team was a mess on both sides of the ball, and there were rumors that Tua Tagovailoa was going to lose his job to backup Jacoby Brissett or that the team would entertain a trade for Deshaun Watson.
But over the last six games, Miami is undefeated and the team’s plus-68 scoring differential is the fourth-best in the league. Tua has settled into a dink-and-dunk attack that’s seeing him complete 74.5% of his passes during the win streak. He has only thrown three interceptions and his passer rating is 103.3. It is rarely pretty, but Miami has scored at least 20 points in five straight games. That may not sound like much, but it’s the third-longest active streak in this strange season.
However, how much did the schedule impact 1-7 to 6-0? In the first eight games, Miami played five games against teams likely headed for the playoffs, including the Bills twice. The Raiders (7-7) are also competitive.500 team the Dolphins lost to in overtime.
But in the last six wins, Miami has beaten up on five lousy teams with a losing record, including the Jets twice. The only winning team Miami beat was Baltimore on a night that seemingly jump-started Lamar Jackson’s slump this year.
Even in sweeping the Jets, the Dolphins only won each game by seven points and had to score a game-winning touchdown with 3:37 left on Sunday to win the game 31-24. The Miami offense still ranks 31st in yards per completion and 31st in yards per rush this season. They want to papercut defenses to death.
Fortunately, the Saints are no longer a high-flying offense like the old days, but the Dolphins are going to have to have one of their best efforts of the season to continue this winning streak.
Can the Saints Still Make the Playoffs?
The Saints are battling it out with the 49ers, Vikings, and Eagles for the last two wild card spots in the NFC. That 9-0 stunner over Tampa Bay has changed the expectations for what this team can still do this season. It has been a wild one as the Saints have dominated Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady in wins, only to get shredded in losses by Sam Darnold (Panthers) and Daniel Jones (Giants).
With two winnable division games after this, the Saints are going to have to get by an unfamiliar opponent to keep their playoff hopes alive. This defense should hold up well against a Miami team that lacks explosive plays. But what’s going to happen when an inexperienced rookie quarterback faces one of the blitz-happiest defenses that ranks near the top in pressure rate and sacks?
If it’s anything like Taysom Hill’s performance against the Buccaneers, the Saints are in trouble. They are not winning another 9-0 game where the offense literally had three plays that gained 10 yards, and they were all passes to Marquez Callaway. Book is going to have to protect the ball, but he has to make some first downs too. The Saints were 3-of-16 on third down in Tampa Bay. None of their 31 rushes gained more than 9 yards.
Miami is mediocre at stopping the run, so this needs to be a huge game for Alvin Kamara. The Saints were missing their offensive tackles in Tampa Bay, and it is unclear if they will be healthy to play in this one.
For Book, it could be a disaster or a blessing in disguise with the way Hill’s finger injury has limited him as a passer. At Notre Dame, Book threw 72 touchdowns to 20 interceptions and showed some rushing ability (17 touchdowns on the ground). In his lone preseason game this year against the Ravens, Book completed 9-of-16 passes for 126 yards and an interception.
This will be a tough one for the Saints, but the team has already won four games this season with fewer than 160 net passing yards. The game plan may not change much with Book as they lean on safer throws and riding Kamara. Either way, it should be a low-scoring game.
The days of the Saints being a lock to light it up in the air at home in prime time are over. But unlike past years, this team can defend and lean on the running game. The Saints have already won two prime-time games this season on the road without scoring more than 13 points, something unheard of in the Drew Brees era.
I am going to trust New Orleans to get the job done defensively and get by with Book for your NFL picks to close Week 16.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.