Distracted Dolphins Could Be Ripe for Upset at Winless Buccaneers on Monday Night


Ryan TannehillIt has been a rough NFL season in the Sunshine State this year. Entering Week 10, the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars had combined for four wins, or less than 14 other NFL teams. The good news is that number will rise by one — barring a tie (the Jags did win Sunday) — because Miami visits winless Tampa Bay on Monday. The Dolphins are three-point Bovada favorites and have a total of 41 with live betting.

The off-the-field news has been just as bad for the three Florida teams. Jacksonville has lost arguably its best offensive player, receiver Justin Blackmon, for all but four games for twice violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. He’s in rehab and done for the year. Tampa Bay dealt with the Josh Freeman headache for weeks and had a MRSA outbreak at its facility, with three players contracting that infection. Starting guard Carl Nicks remains out because of it.

Miami has been in the news recently because of the bullying by Richie Incognito of fellow starting offensive lineman Jonathan Martin. Incognito has been suspended, while Martin is away from the team indefinitely. On top of all the media distractions and the ongoing NFL investigation, the Fins are now down two starters on their line. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has already been sacked an NFL-high 35 times.

The Dolphins (4-4) ended a four-game losing streak last Thursday by beating Cincinnati 22-20 on the third overtime safety in NFL history. Cameron Wake had the sack of Andy Dalton, one of three by the Pro Bowler. Miami forced four turnovers and had a season-high 157 yards rushing, and Tannehill had a rare turnover-free game with a rating of 92.6 as Miami improved to 9-1 all-time when his rating is at least 90. He had given it away 10 times during the losing streak. The Fins are +900 to win the AFC East and have a season wins total of 8 (over -130 favorite).

Tampa Bay (0-8) nearly had one of the biggest upsets in years last week. The Buccaneers were 17-point underdogs at NFC favorite Seattle, which had never lost at home under quarterback Russell Wilson. The Bucs jumped to a 21-0 second-quarter lead, but Wilson got the Seahawks even at 24 with a 10-yard touchdown pass with 1:51 left in the game. Seattle won on a 27-yard field goal in overtime.

The Bucs remain without injured top running back Doug Martin, but rookie Mike James had a career day against Seattle, rushing 28 times for 158 yards and throwing a 2-yard touchdown pass. Tampa Bay also is encouraged by rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, a third-round pick out of NC State. He has five touchdown passes and no interceptions over his past three games.

Glennon’s season rating of 83.1 was slightly better than Tom Brady‘s entering Week 10 (and Tannehill, Alex Smith, Robert Griffin III and reigning Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco). Glennon has been a vast improvement over the released Freeman. His play may mean the Bucs don’t take a quarterback with their first-round pick next season. Embattled coach Greg Schiano isn’t expected to be around for that. The Bucs’ wins total is set at 2.5 (both -120).

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