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New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins Point Spread - Pick

New England Patriots (10-2 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. Miami Dolphins (5-7 SU, 4-6-2 ATS)
Week 14 NFL
Date/Time: Monday Night Football, December 11, 2017 at 8:30PM EST
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida
TV: ESPN

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Betting Odds: NE -11.5/MIA +11.5
Over/Under Total: 47.5

The New England Patriots take on the Miami Dolphins in an AFC East battle on Monday Night Football. This MNF battle features two teams coming off wins on Sunday. The Dolphins snapped a five-game losing streak, showing some life in a 35-9 win over the Broncos. New England, meanwhile, was able to win their eighth game in a row with a 23-3 win at Buffalo on Sunday. They are in patch of 5 road games in 6 weeks and so far, have shown no signs of slowing. The Pats and 'Fins played two weeks ago, with the Patriots winning 35-17 in Foxborough. The Patriots got four touchdowns from Tom Brady, while the run-game delivered for nearly 200 yards. Three turnovers for the Dolphins made life hard, as they were soundly thumped by the Patriots. Can they do better at home on Monday Night Football?

When you lose five games in a row as the Dolphins have, you don't get too nit-picky about wins, as their win over Denver came against a team that is in a steeper free-fall than the Dolphins are. Still, it was a good development for a once-hopeful Miami team. Based on their strong finish last season and a 4-2 start to the season, it's hard to be coming off a win that got them to just 5-7, but it showed they still have some fight in them. And they'll need all of it against the Patriots this week.

On Sunday, Jay Cutler returned after missing more time in what has been an injury-riddled season. He threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns, though he did have two picks. On Sunday, the offense was bolstered by Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills through the air. Stills had 98 yards and a TD. Kenyan Drake ran for 120 yards and a touchdown. However it came, the 35-point output on Sunday was a season-high for the Dolphins.

The Dolphins defense shined on Sunday and it's not often that anyone has been able to say that this season. In the five games (all losses) leading up to the win over Denver Sunday, the Dolphins allowed an average of over 35 points a game. On Sunday, they actually got after the quarterback a little bit. The secondary made big plays, with TJ McDonald intercepting a pass, with Xavien Howard picking off two passes and returning one for a touchdown. Lawrence Timmons and Kiko Alonso were big at linebacker and we saw a rare glimpse of what this defense could be.

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It's hard to not marvel at the defending champion Patriots. They have really turned it around on defense, while continuing to apply their winning formula on offense consistently. On Sunday, the defense again shined in allowing just a single field goal to the Bills on the road. Oddly, three of their last four games have been on the road and their next two are also away from home. Thus far, it hasn't seemed to make a difference. They haven't allowed more than 17 points in any game since week 4. And considering how the defense looked to begin the season, it's hard to believe that this is the same group.

The Patriots' offense did enough on Sunday, though it wasn't a vintage performance, Their nine-point first half was their worst first 30 minutes on offense this season. Tom Brady wasn't on-fire, with 258 yards, no touchdowns, and a pick. He did connect big-time with TE Rob Gronkowski, who had nine catches for 147 yards. A cheap hit has led to a one-game suspension, so he will be out for this game. The run-game is really starting to come around. On Sunday, Dion Lewis ran for 92 yards, while Rex Burkhead ran for 78 yards and 2 touchdowns. In his last two games, Burkhead has 4 touchdowns. With Danny Amendola and Brandon Cooks quiet on Sunday, look for more from the pass-attack in weeks to come.

Earlier in the season, the Patriots' defense was being exploited in a major way by the opposing passing-attack. Over the past eight games, they have completely flipped the script and are playing some real hard-nosed defense. Miami's 17 points two weeks ago against the Patriots was actually the most a team has scored against New England since week four. And it's happened despite a rash of injuries on this side of the ball. They have good depth, with different guys stepping up at different times. On Sunday, it was reserve defensive end Eric Lee's turn, as he had 1.5 sacks and an interception. After not making much noise this season, David Harris also got after the quarterback on Sunday.

You never want to bank on a hot team cooling off, but after smacking around Miami two weeks ago and on the heels of eight straight wins, could we see the Pats' take their foot off the gas ever so slightly? The Dolphins beat a downtrodden Denver team last week, hardly a signal for a revival. But maybe it signaled a period of better play. It's a sketchy play where one could look up in the second quarter and see the Patriots up 28-0. Still, I see the Patriots letting off enough to allow the 'Fins to cover the big number this week.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Miami Dolphins plus 11.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Pats vs. 'Fins by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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