Miami Dolphins (5-4 SU, 5-4 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Rams (4-5 SU, 4-4-1 ATS)
Week 11 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, November 20, 2016 at 4:05PM EST
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: MIA -1.5/LA +1.5
Over/Under Total: 40
On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins come to the Coliseum to face the Los Angeles Rams in a key week 11 battle. Miami scored a comeback road win against the Chargers to win their fourth game in a row on Sunday. After a 1-4 start where the 'Fins looked overturned on their back, they now enter their final 7 games with a gust of momentum and a lot of hope. The Los Angeles Rams ended a 4-game losing streak on Sunday with a 9-6 win over the Jets. At 4-5, the Rams look to get back to the .500 mark, as the football world awaits the debut of the last draft's top pick Jared Goff.
With all respect to Case Keenum, he wasn't moving the offense and maybe Goff can inject some life into this unit. They are ranked dead-last in the league on scoring at 15.4 points per game. They're ranked 29th in rushing, which they certainly weren't expecting with Todd Gurley. The second-year back has been a considerable letdown, averaging 3 yards a run and not making the impact almost everyone forecasted. The offensive line has been unable to either spring the run or protect Keenum from opposing pass-rushers. Now Goff comes into the situation and we'll see if he can make some progress with an offense that is really struggling with 29 points in their last three games.
Goff is not stepping into an ideal situation. The line is pretty subpar and the run-game hasn't taken off. You would assume at some point that Gurley would turn it loose, but why hasn't he up to this point? The reasons likely extend past the notion that Gurley isn't up-to-par, as he showed he is last season. But if that doesn't work, that leaves Goff with a stripped-bare aerial crew. Sure, Kenny Britt is a good receiver and Brian Quick gets some things done. Tavon Austin can make things happen. But there's a reason they're the worst offense in the league.
The reason you have a terrible offense and a 4-5 record has a lot to do with the defense and the Rams have a good one. You can imagine how good they'd be if given more support on the other side of the ball. Robert Quinn is a big part of the line and had a health scare this week, putting his status in question. DT Michael Brockers is also questionable with a groin injury. DT Aaron Donald is a monster on that line. Alec Ogletree and Trumaine Johnson are tough in the middle. And the secondary is a good unit that can send opposing aerial games sideways. In the last three games, they've given up 36 points with just 19 in their last two.
The Rams have been a tough team to figure out so far this season. They lost a puzzling 28-0 week one game to the 49rs. Three straight wins had the Rams looking like a potential darkhorse, but four straight losses brought that to a halt. The win over the Jets on the road in a 9-6 grind was needed. The defense was on-point, but the offense was so wayward that the move to Goff finally took place, as some would say his insertion is overdue.
The Dolphins have been really cooking and when a team starts off 1-4 and starts making things happen, it can be difficult to separate a team from their momentum. Ryan Tannehill has gotten better over the season, making good use of an offensive set of playmakers that have grown in stature over the season. Jay Ajayi has over 600 yards rushing in the past four games alone, as his contributions have been key to the Dolphins surge. Through the air, Tannehill works with Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, and Kenny Stills. With 116 points in their last 4 games, the offense looks a lot different than it did in their first five games.
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The Miami defense has also come around, getting a big assist from an improving offense. They're by no means infallible, as they are particularly dicey against the run, ranked 30th in the NFL. They have some talent up-front with Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh. The line was excellent on Sunday, as their ability to start dominating a San Diego offensive line was a big part of them being able to get the tough win. And we also saw some of that late-game clutch play from this side of the ball, as they stuffed numerous Chargers' scoring attempts. They have been a big part of the Dolphins' turnaround. On Sunday, Kiko Alonso ran back a pick for 60 yards. Tony Lippett picked off two Rivers passes, while Byron Maxwell also had an interception. They've been making a lot of plays over the past month.
This isn't an easy test for Miami. They have to come to LA, though they didn't seem all that thrown off playing in San Diego last week. Against the tough LA defense, however, we'll see how much damage the Miami offense can manage. And with Miami's defense so dicey against the run, LA could start to see that part of the game flourish. There's also an X-factor with Goff getting his first start. But I like what Miami is doing and with a banged-up Rams' D-line, I see the Dolphins getting the win in LA.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Miami Dolphins minus 1.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and betting the Miami vs. Los Angeles game at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!