Nothing screams “It’s Thursday!” more than Thursday Night Football in the NFL. The Miami Dolphins take on the Jacksonville Jaguars tonight, and the big question is whether or not the Fins can get back on track. This game marks the tenth time these two teams have met on the field, and the Jaguars are leaders 5-4.
The Fins Look For First Season Win
The most recent game that took place between these two rivals was in Week 16 of the 2018 season. The Jaguars won the game, a 17-7 victory in the penultimate contest of head coach Adam Gase and quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Gase has moved onto the Detroit Lions, but didn’t take his winning playbook with him.
The Dolphins are trying to get their first victory of the season and recover from a dismal 2019 season that saw them outscored 102-10 in the first two games. They ended with a 5-11 record and, even though they are off to a rocky start this year, they look a little better organized. They definitely are looking to improve as second-year head coach Brian Flores gets going.
The Dolphins should improve their status in the league after losing games to two divisional contenders, the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots. However, in the season opener, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick disappointed his team and the defense did poorly in the fourth quarter of Week 2.
Fitzpatrick’s slow start this season has caused some problems to his reputation. His Week 1 performance was considered a terrible one, as he racked up three interceptions and no touchdowns. Then, in Week 2. he did a little better against the Bills, picking up 328 passing yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers. He found some help with third-year tight end Mike Gesicki, who caught eight passes and scored a touchdown.
The question is if the Dolphins defense can improve and show a better performance. The reality is that the team is in last place in the NFL with 7.22 yards per play over two games and 30th overall with 440.5 yards allowed. Cornerback Byron Jones, who is one of most outstanding players, injured his groin against the Bills on Sunday and will most likely be unavailable for tonight’s game.
Dolphins head coach Brian Flores spoke with the Miami Herald this week and said, “There are opportunities for us to make plays and we haven’t made them. There’s never just one thing. I think we’ve had some opportunities that we need to take advantage of. We try to stress every play because you never know which one’s going to shift the momentum.” He is aware that his team is going through a run of bad luck, but hopes things can improve.
The Jags Are Sharpening Their Claws
The Jaguars were competitive as they won their opener against the Indianapolis Colts. However, a field goal scored in the last second by the Tennessee Titans was the action that hindered the Jaguars from breaking their seven-game losing streak in Nashville. Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone commented after the loss, “These guys are going to continue to get better. I don’t want to say growing pains because I really feel like those guys can do it.”
The other point to consider is if an excited crowd might help the Jaguars. Due to the COVID-19 most NFL teams are not allowing fans into the stadium. However, the Jaguars are an exception because, under Florida legislation, stadiums can allow up to 25% their normal capacity. That means around 15,000 or 20,000 people could attend the games and, if this happens tonight, the Jags might get motivated.
The Jaguars are favored to win tonight and are getting -165 against the Dolphins’ +140. The spread is just 3 tipped toward Jacksonville, with an Over/Under for the game of 48.5. Unless Miami pulls out some surprises, this game should go to Jacksonville.