Miami Dolphins vs. New Orleans Saints: Monday Night Football Preview
The Miami Dolphins will aim to secure a seventh consecutive win when they head to New Orleans to face the Saints on Monday night. Both teams are still in the hunt for wild card places in the wildest playoff race in NFL history, so there is a great deal at stake in this eagerly anticipated Monday Night Football clash.
Date: Monday, December 28, at 8.15pm EST
Location: Caesars Superdome
Weather: Warm, partly cloudy, with 10mph wind
Dolphins Embark on Sensational Winning Streak
The Miami Dolphins looked dead and buried after going 1-7 in their opening eight games of the season, but the turnaround since then has been remarkable. It began with a 17-9 win against the Texans Week 9, and Miami has been on fire ever since. The Dolphins have not exactly been playing against elite opposition, but they have done well to beat the Ravens, the Jets, the Panthers, the Giants and then the Jets again last Sunday.
It has left them 7-7 straight-up for the year, but they need to maintain their winning streak if they are to muscle their way into the playoffs. The Bills (8-6) currently hold the No. 7 seed, and Miami basically needs to win out to have a chance at making the playoffs.
Statisticians at FiveThirtyEight say that the Dolphins would have an 11% chance of reaching the playoffs with a 9-8 record, but it would shoot up to 99% with a 10-7 record. However, the Dolphins end the season with away games against the Saints and the Titans, and a home game against the Patriots, so there is little room for error against three very strong teams.
Saints Battling for a Wild Card Spot
The Saints are currently sitting just outside the playoff places in the NFC. Minnesota is currently No. 7, with New Orleans at No. 8. They have an identical record, but the Vikings currently hold a tiebreaker over the Saints due to the in-conference win percentage.
The Saints looked in trouble a couple of weeks ago, but back-to-back wins against the Jets and the Bucs reignited their season. Their 9-0 win against the Bucs last weekend was the lowest-scoring game of the season, and it represented the first time Tom Brady has suffered a shutout loss since 2006.
The Saints have saved their best performances for away games. They are 5-3 on the road this season, and 2-4 at home. One of those wins came when they had to temporarily move to Jacksonville in the wake of Hurricane Ida, so they are actually 1-4 at the Superdome this year.
Many felt it would be a transitional season for the Saints after Drew Brees’ retirement, but they have had a pretty strong season, and they proved against the Bucs that they can play high-level football when the heat is on. They were double-digit underdogs for that game, but they made a mockery of the betting line as the New Orleans defense dominated Brady and co. Nine wins would probably be good enough to see them through to the playoffs, but they would be all but certain to go into the postseason with 10 wins.
This will be the first head-to-head meeting between these teams since 2017, so there is no useful data available in this regard. The Saints beat the Dolphins 20-0 back in 2017, leaving the all-time series since 1970 tied at 6-6, but both rosters have obviously changed beyond all recognition since then.
The Dolphins have signed Duke Johnson to their active roster after he rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-24 win against the Jets on Sunday. Johnson was signed to the practice squad back in October after an injury to Malcolm Brown, and he made his first start against the Jets. His performance was enough to secure him a promotion.
The Saints were missing right tackle Ryan Ramczyk, left tackle Terron Armstead, tight end Garrett Griffin, and cornerback Jamel Dean for the win against the Bucs in Week 15. Wide receiver Michael Thomas, tight end Dylan Soehner, defensive tackle Jalen Dalton, offensive tackle Ethan Greenidge, kicker Wil Lutz, offensive guard Andrus Peat, QB Jameis Winston and offensive tackle Landon Young are out for the season.
·The Saints are 7-8 against the spread this season.
·New Orleans is just 1-4 ATS this season as a 3-point favorite or greater.
·The Saints are 2-5 straight up since Jameis Winston suffered a season-ending injury.
·The Dolphins are 8-6 ATS this season.
·Miami is 3-2-1 ATS when 3-point underdogs or greater.
·Six of the Saints’ 14 games have gone over the total points line.
·Six of the Dolphins’ 14 games have gone over the total points line too.
New Orleans has opened as the 3-point favorite to win this game. DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars all have -105 on the Dolphins +3, while PointsBet and FOX Bet have -110 on the Saints -3.
The total points line has been set at just 38.5. That follows a highly attritional performance from the Saints in their 9-0 win against the Bucs last weekend. Eight of 14 Dolphins games have gone over 38.5 points this season, as have 10 of the Saints’ 14 games.
The Dolphins may well be on a six-game winning streak, but most of those victories have come against weak teams with losing records. They did well to beat the Ravens, but they have mainly been beating up on bad teams.
They will face a far sterner test of their mettle against a fired-up Saints team at the Super Bowl. New Orleans has not been putting up high points tallies since Winston’s injury, but the team is now accustomed to dual-threat Tayson Hill under center and the defense will be full of confidence right now, so it could power the Saints to victory on Monday.
The total points line looks low, but under is still appealing after witnessing the way the Saints defense shut down Brady on Sunday. The Saints -3 looks like a good option, as does under 38.5 points.